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Anti-Mugabe Demonstrators Counter Namibia's Warm Official Welcome

A Namibian human rights advocacy group staged demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on Wednesday, one day after his arrival in Windhoek on a state visit inaugurated with red carpet, 24-gun salute, anthems and banquet.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba and top Namibian officials greeted Mr. Mugabe on his arrival Tuesday amidst pomp and ceremony. On Wednesday, the National Society for Human Rights protested his rule outside the Zimbabwe High Commission.

A spokesman for the group said some Namibians stand in opposition to Mr. Mugabe because his administration has a record of violating human rights.

But the youth league of Namibia's ruling SWAPO party said Zimbabwe’s economic difficulties were the work of “external forces." The SWAPO youth wing condemned the anti-Mugabe protesters as “co-opted” and “domesticated” by Western powers.

Contacted for comment, the Namibian Foreign Affairs Ministry declined to comment. Calls to the office of the SWAPO Party Youth League went unanswered.

Executive Director Phil Ya Nangoloh of Namibia's National Society for Human Rights told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the protest, which attracted about 200 demonstrators, had been a success.

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