- (Sapa-AFP) -- The United States on Monday accused Zimbabwe's
government of unleashing a new wave of violence against the opposition,
which it said was incited when President Robert Mugabe compared himself
to Adolf Hitler.
- "The United States strongly condemns the unprecedented
violence carried out by the Zimbabwe government against domestic opponents,"
said State Department representative Richard Boucher in a statement.
- "Over the past three days, the Government of Zimbabwe
has embarked on a massive retribution campaign against opposition officials,
supporters, and other critics of the regime."
- The statement, which will further taint Washington-Harare
realtions, said "the upsurge in official violence is directly attributable
to President Mugabe's speech last Friday in which he said he could be a
'black Hitler ten fold' in crushing his opponents."
- Mugabe noted in the speech that he had been compared
to the former Nazi leader in the British press, and said he was ready to
embrace such a role. "This Hitler has only one objective: justice
for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognitition of the independence
of his people and their rights over their resources," he said.
- "If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold."
- The State Department said that the violence and intimidation
followed last week's work stoppage by the main opposition party the Movement
for Democratic Change.
- "The United States demands that the Zimbabwe government
immediately cease its campaign of violent repression," Boucher said.
- A police representative in Harare said Sunday that 400
opposition members had been arrested since the strike and most were charged
with malicious injury to property.
- Buses were stoned and burnt, roads barricaded, supermarkets
torched and a ruling party office fire-bombed during and after the two-day
- Boucher said the violence saw many opposition members
beaten and in some cases tortured, adding that one person had died and
women were sexually assaulted by police or military officers. The United
States said earlier this month that it would sponsor a campaign to censure
Zimbabwe's behavior at the UN Human Rights Commission.
- President George Bush has frozen the assets of Mugabe
and 76 other government officials, charging they have undermined democracy.