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津巴布韦各地示威游行要求穆加贝下台 Zimbabweans Rally and Urge Mugabe to Step Down










Thousands of exuberant demonstrators are walking through Harare's streets Saturday demanding that President Robert Mugabe step down from office. Signs they are carrying say "Mugabe must go!" and "Not coup but cool."

The military that has stopped such demonstrations in the capital in the past is now supporting the protests, directing demonstrators to the Zimbabwe Grounds where speeches will be made by a number of activists, politicians, and former freedom fighters calling for the president to resign.

The Zimbabwe Grounds is a symbolic location. It is where Zimbabweans welcomed Mugabe back from exile in 1980 after the liberation war from white minority rule.

Demonstrations are being held in other cities around the country also calling for an end to Mugabe's rule.

Mugabe, 93, is reported to be resisting demands from the army, members of his own ZANU-PF party, and political activists to step down after 37 years in power.

The Zimbabwe Defense Forces seized key state institutions Wednesday, confined Mugabe to house arrest and clamped down on those they termed thieves surrounding the president, including Professor Jonathan Moyo, Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo, Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, ZANU-PF Youth League secretary Kudzanayi Chipanga and several others.

The detainees, who are in army barracks, are said to be members of a faction of the ruling party that were seeking to elevate first lady Grace Mugabe to the post of vice president. President Mugabe fired his longtime ally, Emmerson Mnangagwa, from the position on November 5th.

Mugabe made a public appearance Friday, his first since the military took over state institutions and opened talks aimed at getting the aged leader to resign.

Mugabe, wearing a blue and yellow academic gown, presided over a university graduation ceremony for more than 1,000 students in Harare. The president appeared to fall asleep at times and said nothing about the ongoing political uncertainty.