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Zimbabwe: Court Overturns Opposition MDC Rally Ban

Zimbabwean Court Overturns Ban on Opposition Rally

A Zimbabwean court has overturned a police ban on a rally planned by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change ahead of next week's presidential runoff vote.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa says the court granted the party permission Saturday to go ahead with Sunday's rally in the capital, Harare. Police had banned the gathering Tuesday without providing an explanation.

The rally is the opposition's main event before the June 27 runoff between MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.

The MDC says at least 70 of its members have been killed since the first round of elections on March 29, in which Mr. Tsvangirai tallied more votes than Mr. Mugabe, but not enough to avoid a runoff.

But Mr. Mugabe Friday denounced MDC claims that his supporters are conducting a campaign of violence and terror ahead of the vote.

Mr. Mugabe told supporters during a rally in the city of Bulawayo Friday the claims are a lie, and said the MDC is making the accusations so they can later discredit the vote.

Also Friday, an MDC spokesman told VOA (Studio 7 Zimbabwe) that party leaders will meet Sunday to discuss withdrawing from the run-off.

Mr. Tsvangirai has been detained five times during his campaign, while MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti remains in custody facing a treason charge and other offenses. He faces the death penalty if convicted.


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