June 7, 2008 / 4:03 PM / in 9 years

Zimbabwe court overturns police ban on rallies

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s High Court on Saturday overturned a police ban on opposition rallies this weekend ahead of the June 27 presidential run-off, a lawyer for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said.

<p>Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai talks with Zimbabweans sheltering at the police station in Alexandra township, outside Johannesburg, May 22, 2008. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko</p>

“The effect of the order is to allow MDC rallies to proceed. The order simply says that police should not interfere with the MDC rallies. We made an urgent chamber application after police wrote to say the rallies scheduled for this weekend should not continue,” MDC lawyer Charles Kwaramba said.

He said High Court Judge Alfas Chitakunye gave the order on Saturday afternoon. The application only sought to challenge the police ban on MDC rallies scheduled for this weekend.

“The ruling is logical. What is disturbing is we have to go to the High Court each time we want to meet our supporters. That only happens in a dictatorship. We are not an underground or guerrilla movement, we need to meet the people,” MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

He said the rallies the party planned for this weekend would go ahead.

Police on Friday banned several of the planned rallies in the campaign for the presidential run-off between the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai and veteran leader Robert Mugabe because authorities could not guarantee the safety of party leaders.

Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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