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Harare Authorities Drop Violence Charges Against Opposition Officials

Authorities in Zimbabwe have withdrawn charges of public violence that were brought last month against some senior officials of the faction of the Movement for Democratic Change headed by the party's founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai,

Prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to pursue charges against faction Secretary General Tendai Biti, legislator Paul Madzore and nine others.

The officials were arrested in mid-February after protesting police moves to prevent the faction from holding a rally it had scheduled in Highfield, a Harare suburb.

In a related development, the faction said youth members arrested over the weekend had been released Wednesday without any charges being filed against them. Faction officials said some of the youths were beaten and needed medical attention.

Tsvangirai faction policy secretary Sekai Holland charged in an interview with reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the charges against the youths were trumped up to discourage them from involvement in opposition politics.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...