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MDC-T rioters shot
Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2009

CAJ News-Herald Reporter
January 27, 2009
The Herald

SOUTH African police yesterday opened fire on a group of rowdy MDC-T supporters who attempted to break into Union Buildings, venue of the Sadc Extraordinary Summit, wounding dozens and arresting 30 others.

South African police had to open fire with rubber bullets on about 1 000 MDC-T supporters, who comprised South African-based activists and their counterparts bussed from Zimbabwe, who claimed they wanted to confront President Mugabe, accusing him of running down Zimbabwe and stalling the process towards the envisaged inclusive Government.

Those wounded were hospitalised at Tshwane District Hospital in Pretoria while those arrested were later discharged after questioning.

CAJ News quoted one Reverend Mufaro Hove, who identified himself as Patron of the Youth Movement of Zimbabwe, as saying the group wanted to break into the summit venue.

"We wanted to break into the Union Buildings to confront President Mugabe. The police reacted swiftly and started firing rubber bullets at us. Women and children were injured," Hove, who was among those shot, was quoted as saying.

Among those arrested were 12 MDC-T regional and national leaders including deputy national spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo, MDC-T spokesperson for South Africa Sibanengi Dube, organising secretary Philemon Moyo and his deputy Rodgers Mudarikwa.

Observers condemned the actions of the hooligans saying they had shown utter disrespect for the regional leaders gathered in attempting to break into a meeting of heads of state and government.

Mandla Mlalazi, who called The Herald from Tshwane, said he hoped the opposition supporters had learnt a lesson.

"There is a difference between picketing and thuggery. Attempting to break into a meeting of heads of state was not only the height of folly as security officers can shoot anyone who threatens such a high-profile meeting, even with live ammunition. The rowdy behaviour also exposed the violence that has become the stock-in-trade of the opposition elements in Zimbabwe."

The group that comprised members of the Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe, MDC-T, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (South Africa Chapter), Zimbabwe Exiles Forum and other civic society organisations danced and sang at the venue of the talks demanding the removal of the facilitator, Cde Thabo Mbeki, whom they accused of siding with President Mugabe. The group exposed the MDC-T game plan, in an interview with CAJ News, where they said they wanted the matter to be taken to the African Union and then the UN.

"The talks being mediated by (Cde) Mbeki will not yield anything. This is the reason we are calling for both the United Nations and the African Union to intervene," Hove was quoted as saying. Observers say MDC-T has been frustrating the process in the hope that it will be referred to the AU en route to the UN, where the British having been itching for an excuse to have Zimbabwe on the agenda of the Security Council as a prelude to invasion. – CAJ News-Herald Reporter.

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