Thousands gather in Zimbabwe for sanctions rally

AP News
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Posted: Mar 02, 2011 4:54 AM
Thousands gather in Zimbabwe for sanctions rally

Thousands of supporters of President Robert Mugabe's party are launching a petition against Western economic sanctions targeting his supporters.

Trucks and buses carrying Mugabe supporters arrived Wednesday at open field on the edge of the city center as a volatile mood mounted. The supporters sang slogans and raised Mugabe's trademark clenched fist salute; there were no immediate reports of violence.

Mugabe, who is scheduled to address the rally, insists the sanctions have destroyed Zimbabwe's economy. Critics, though, blame his land distribution program for crippling the country's agriculture industry.

The sanctions include visa bans and asset freezes on Mugabe and his party leaders. Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe's independence 30 years ago.