Thousands at Zimbabwe’s first anti-government rally since crackdown

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched through Harare on Thursday under close surveillance by armed police in the first rally since a deadly crackdown on an election protest in August.

Singing and waving placards denouncing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rule, the protesters gathered in the centre of the Zimbabwean capital to hear speeches ahead of a march.

The event, which was held with police approval, was organised by the main opposition MDC party, which says it was cheated of victory in the July 30 election, eight months after long-time leader Robert Mugabe was ousted.

In a mass demonstration two days later, six people died when security forces opened fire on the protesters, undermining Managagwa’s efforts to present the election as a fresh start for the nation after years of repression under Mugabe years.

“Mnangwagwa must go,” read one banner at Thursday’s protest alongside others reading “You stole my vote, please give it back” as well as slogans demanding justice over the August 1 shootings.

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