About 200 members of the Movement for Democratic Change of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai sought refuge Monday at the party’s Harare headquarters alleging that ZANU-PF youth were hunting them in the capital's Mbare suburb.
The development followed violence this weekend in Mbare and Budiriro where members of the MDC said ZANU-PF youth backed by police and soldiers assaulted them.
Tsvangirai MDC Harare Province Secretary Tsaurai Marima told Patience Rusere that the situation in the Harare suburb is tense and violence is likely to erupt again.
Human rights activists surveying the violence said this and other incidents are of concern because such clashes, usually rural-based, are moving into urban areas.
Ronald Mureverwi, spokesman for the nongovernmental organization Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe, said increased violence in cities signals a change in the culture of violence. He said human rights organizations have long been urging the coalition government to restructure security agencies in Zimbabwe.
Elsewhere on Monday, 19 members of the Tsvangirai MDC arrested during Sunday’s skirmishes in Mbare for allegedly committing public violence were denied bail and remanded to custody in Harare magistrates court.
Another 14 other MDC supporters from Budiriro, facing the same charges, were fined US$20 apiece and released.