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Monday, 2 October, 2000, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Police consider Tsvangirai arrest
Morgan Tsvangirai
Mr Tsvangirai denies threatening the president
Police are reported to be considering prosecuting the leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai, after he allegedly threatened President Robert Mugabe.

The Movement for Democratic Change leader told 20,000 supprters at a rally on Saturday that if Mr Mugabe did not want to step down before the next elections scheduled for 2002 "we will remove you violently".

On Monday, state news agency ZIANA quoted police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena as saying police were examining Mr Tsvangirai's speech with a view to establishing grounds to charge him.

What we would like to tell Mugabe is please go peacefully. If you don't want to go peacefully, we will remove you violently

Morgan Tsvangirai
"Any threats of violence are unlawful. There are legitimate claims for police to act and moves are already in place," the police spokesman was quoted as saying.

On Sunday, Zimbabwe's ruling party warned the MDC that it would respond with violence to any attempt forcibly to remove President Robert Mugabe from office.

Increasing tension

MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart said that Mr Tsvangirai had no legal case to answer.

Robert Mugabe
Mr Mugabe: Does he plan to step down gracefully?
"The MDC's position is that Morgan Tsvangirai was giving a warning to President Mugabe to consider history. There is a long line of dictators who have refused to go peacefully - and the people have removed them violently," he said.

Our correspondent in Harare says that Mr Tsvangirai's comments reflect an increasing desperation on the part of many Zimbabweans as they watch the economy continue to disintegrate after months of political instability.

In the run-up June's parliamentary elections at least 31 people died - mostly MDC supporters. The MDC won 57 seats in parliament ending Zanu-PF's virtual monopoly on power since independence in 1980.

However, tension between the opposition and ruling party has remained high since then.

Last week the MDC said a recent grenade attack on its hq was the work of a police agent, but the government alleged that the MDC itself was behind the attack.

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See also:

06 Jul 00 | Africa
Profile: Morgan Tsvangirai
30 Sep 00 | Africa
Opposition warning to Mugabe
25 Sep 00 | Africa
Parliament: Disillusion sets in
17 Jun 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
The politics of fear
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