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Opponents Plan Protest Over Zimbabwe Crackdown

  • VOA News

Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a pressure group, said workers should stay away from their jobs on Thursday and Friday to express frustration with Mugabe's leadership.

"This is to send a message to the government that it is causing human suffering and misery to the population through mismanaging the economy," Madhuku told Reuters.

"Instead of addressing the key issues, they are just consolidating their power."

Police have warned they will stop any overt demonstrations against the clean-up campaign, which a U.N. official on Friday estimated has made 200,000 people homeless since it was launched two weeks ago.

The NCA and labour federation Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have had patchy success in previous calls for strikes and demonstrations against Mugabe's government, which critics charge with plunging the country into political and economic crisis.

Officials say the drive, dubbed "Operation Restore Order", is intended to clean up informal urban settlements and root out black market traders and other miscreants.

Police have used bulldozers and crowbars to smash apart shacks, houses and market stalls, sending occupants scrambling to salvage what possessions they can.

Some township residents say they have no choice but to sleep in the open despite nighttime winter temperatures now dropping to single digits Celsius (low 40s Fahrenheit).

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.