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The BBC's Alan Little
"There could well be an attempt to disrupt [the march] by war veterans"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 04:24 GMT 05:24 UK
Harare fears May Day showdown
Chenjerai Hunzvi and the so-called war veterans
War veterans' leaders are challenging the unions
By Craig Swann in Harare

Trade unions in Zimbabwe are due to hold traditional May Day rallies on Tuesday.

However there are fears that this year's main rally in the capital, Harare, could descend into violence.

Recent weeks have seen self-styled war veterans, who were responsible for the invasions of white-owned farms, intervening in labour disputes on behalf of urban workers.

The war veterans say they want to replace the existing trade union leadership, and plan to join the workers' demonstration.

White farmer and black worker
First farms, now towns are being targeted
About 5,000 members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions are expected to march from the centre of Harare to a rally in one of the city's stadiums.

There they will join thousands of other trade unionists to celebrate May Day.

However, this year the war veterans who have been invading businesses in Zimbabwe's cities are challenging the trade union leadership.

The war vererans say they can better represent the interests of urban workers.

The leader of the opposition Movement for democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, is a former secretary-general of the Congress of Trade Unions and sees the war veterans' challenge as an assault on his support base.

With both trade unionists and war veterans planning to attend the rally the fear is that the battle for the hearts and minds of Zimbabwe's workers could result in physical confrontation.

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See also:

28 Apr 01 | Africa
EU warns Zimbabwe over threats
26 Apr 01 | Africa
Zimbabwe court boosts opposition
09 Mar 01 | Africa
Mugabe man named top judge
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