The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

13 March 2007

Further Political Repression by the Mugabe Regime in Zimbabwe

The brutal suppression of a rally in Zimbabwe over the weekend by the Mugabe Government, including killing an opposition activist, is further evidence of the regime’s utter disregard for basic democratic principles and the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean security forces arrested several participants in the rally organised by the civil society group Save Zimbabwe Coalition, including leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutumbara, as they arrived at the township of Highfield in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare on Sunday.  There are reports that some of those arrested have been beaten.

These latest arrests form part of an intensifying cycle of repression by the Mugabe regime.  They follow the suppression of MDC rallies in Highfield last month, despite a court order permitting the rallies to go ahead and a three month ban on all political rallies imposed under the draconian Public Order and Security Act.

They are clear signs of the Mugabe Government’s desperation to cling to power in the face of its growing unpopularity amongst the people of Zimbabwe.  The Mugabe Government’s disastrous policies have crippled a once thriving economy, leaving Zimbabweans enduring hyper-inflation at over 1600%, over 80% of the population unemployed and living below the poverty line and with the lowest life expectancy of any country in the world.

I call on the Government of Zimbabwe to release those arrested, to revoke the ban on political activity and to implement immediate political and economic reforms.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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