Zimbabwe: Archbishop Ncube urges peaceful protests

 Archbishop Pius Ncube yesterday urged the people of Zimbabwe to fill the streets in a protest against state-orchestrated violence. The Archbishop of Bulawayo said he was willing to lead a campaign of peaceful resistance to force President Robert Mugabe out of office. Archbishop Pius Ncube told a gathering of clerics, pro-democracy activists and mostly Western diplomats in Harare on Thursday that: "We must be ready to stand, even in front of blazing guns." He said: "We have to stand up against this oppression. The time for radicalism is now. If we gather a crowd of 20,000, the government will not use its guns." Malawian church leaders and human rights activists held a candlelit vigil and prayers yesterday, "to beseech God to intercede in the deteriorating human rights and political situation" in Zimbabwe. A similar coalition in Botswana staged a demonstration to urge both the government and the Southern African Development Community to take a tougher line. At least one person was killed and more than 46 were seriously injured earlier this month when police broke up a prayer meeting organized by the Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe, head of a grouping of church, civic and opposition groups. The violence has prompted a world outcry. Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinje, who were among the victims, were arrested at Harare airport when they tried to leave the country for urgent medical treatment. They have since managed to get out the country and were admitted to Johannesburg hospital yesterday. Sources: agency reports

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