- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 2, 2003

HARARE, Zimbabwe Police briefly detained yesterday more than 50 members of the main opposition party who were canvassing ahead of a by-election, the opposition said.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said those arrested were carrying out home visits in the Harare suburb of Kuwadzana, where a by-election is to be held at the end of the month. Police, however, denied the arrests.
The campaigners were released without charge, a statement from the MDC said. They were ordered to move out of Kuwadzana and to stop campaigning, it added.
The report came as it emerged that more than 40 cricket supporters had been arrested Friday for holding up banners denouncing the Zimbabwe government at a World Cup Cricket match.
An attorney for some of the 42 persons arrested, Perpetua Dube, said they had been picked up after a Zimbabwe-Netherlands match and were held overnight. A 15-year-old girl had also been picked up, Mr. Dube said, but was released yesterday morning. Police have not confirmed those arrests.
Some of those arrested are believed to have been charged under Zimbabwe's stringent Public Order and Security Act, which prohibits public gatherings of more than five. The MDC said its members are moving around in groups of three.
Also Friday, 19 clergymen were arrested in Harare for marching to the police station with wooden crosses in a bid to demand a public apology for the arrest of a bishop last month.
The clergymen were released after several hours in police custody.
The Zimbabwe government has clamped down on public demonstrations of discontent during the past few weeks, with tensions running high over the country's hosting of six World Cup Cricket matches.
The by-election in Kuwadzana, a low-income suburb to the west of the capital city of Harare, is scheduled for the last weekend in March. The seat fell vacant last year after the death in custody of opposition lawmaker Learnmore Jongwe, who was in prison awaiting trial in the killing of his wife.

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