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Former Zimbabwe Opposition Charges Crackdown by Pro-ZANU-PF Forces

In Beitbridge, two of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's official drivers who were arrested Friday for putting a blue police-type light on their vehicle were released on US$100 bail each by a magistrate

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says a crackdown by forces loyal to President Robert Mugabe has intensified with numerous activists jailed for spurious and politically motivated charges.

Harare police on Tuesday arrested MDC legislator Douglas Mwonzora of Nyanga North, Manicaland, on charges yet to be determined as he left Parliament.

In Beitbridge, on the southern border with South Africa, two of Mr. Tsvangirai's official drivers who were arrested on Friday for putting a blue police-type light on their vehicle were released on US$100 bail each by a magistrate.

Attorneys from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said the drivers were accused of driving a car with lights exclusive to police. Their vehicle was impounded. Lawyer Lizwe Jamela told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the two denied the charges.

In March 2009, soon after Mr. Tsvangirai became prime minister, his vehicle was run off the Harare-Masvingo road in a collision which claimed the life of his wife, Susan.

Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC formation said 13 party activists arrested Monday in eastern Mutare on charges of holding an illegal rally remained in custody on Tuesday and were being denied visitors and food. Nine party supporters arrested in Nyanga on Sunday also remained in custody, according to Tsvangirai MDC sources.

Six MDC legislators in the southeastern province of Masvingo received summonses on Monday to face charges they had broken up a ZANU-PF rally addressed by Jabulani Sibanda, leader of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association.

Other party activists have been detained in the capital, accused of fomenting violence.

Police could not be reached for comment on the many arrests of MDC supporters.

Deputy MDC spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the latest police actions are deplorable.

Tuesday in Harare activists of the group Women of Zimbabwe Arise demonstrated near Parliament demanding that the rights of women be enshrined in the constitution now being revised, and that electoral system reforms be put in place.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported that although police halted the march and dispersed the protesters, they appeared to exercise unusual restraint, leading to some speculation authorities do not want to risk evoking parallels with Egypt's revolt.