More than 300 attended a demonstration outside the Zimbabwean High Commission in London on Saturday, to call for an end to the violence in the run-up to the elections on 9-10 March. Among the speakers were representatives from a number of British churches and church organisations, Peter Tatchell MP, and several exiled Zimbabwean human rights campaigners, including Albert Wiederman and Hilton Mendelsohn. Many demonstrators wore black in tribute to those who have died in the recent political violence. Some wore gags to symbolise Mugabe's clampdown on freedom of speech. There was traditional drumming, singing and dancing. "We have to compensate for the silenced voices of Zimbabwe," one protestor said. Speakers warned that mass starvation is looming, unemployment is over 60 per cent and rising, and inflation has gone over 100 per cent. Calling for an end to state-sponsored murder, terrorism and intimidation, several appealed for the introduction of sanctions. Fr Clive Lee, a Catholic priest from Westminster diocese, lead short prayers. He told the crowd he was born and grew up in Bulawayo. "As a white Zimbabwean living here I want to speak on behalf of my black brothers and sisters who are unable to speak." He said: "God of compassion, you led your people to safety through the wilderness. Hear our prayer for all those in Zimbabwe who are tortured, imprisoned, assaulted or bereaved, because of their longing for freedom. May your hand strengthen them in this time of sorrow. "Gracious God, you call on us to be a support and encouragement to each other. We pray for the nations of the world who wait and watch while Zimbabwe suffers. Move the hearts of their leaders to do what they can to help."
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