Friday, April 11, 2008

Zimbabwe's Mugabe snubs summit as opposition calls strike

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HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition on Friday called a general strike after officials said President Robert Mugabe would snub a regional summit called to discuss rising fears of bloodshed over delayed election results.

As tension increased over the election deadlock, police accused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change of "spoiling for a fight" and of deploying 350 youth wing members around the country.

The police banned a Sunday rally by the MDC, which called an indefinite general strike starting next Tuesday to push for results from the March 29 election to be released.

State radio said Zimbabwe would be represented by three ministers at the Saturday summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which was expected to pressure Mugabe to release the results.

Human rights organizations and the MDC say Mugabe has unleashed a campaign of systematic violence in response to his ZANU-PF party's first electoral defeat, when it lost control of parliament in the March 29 election.

The MDC says its leader Morgan Tsvangirai won a parallel presidential vote, whose results have not been announced, and Mugabe's 28-year rule is over.


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