The police also beat some of Tsvangirai supporters when they arrived at the venue unaware the rally had been cancelled.The cancellation of the rally has increased tensions in the fragile unity government formed in 2008 following the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) by President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai and the then leader of the smaller faction of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara.
Tsvangirai on Friday vowed to defy the ban and address the rally, while his party said it also would seek a court order allowing their meetings and rallies to be left unhindered.Authorities had banned Saturday’s prayer and peace vigil, saying it posed a risk of clashes because it coincided with a Zanu (PF) rally just 500 metres apart.
Police surrounded the venue west of the city center where hundreds of Mugabe militants were allowed to gather. There were reports that some of the MDC-T supporters went straight to the Zanu (PF) rally thinking it was theirs only to be chased away by their rivals.
On Friday the Prime Minister dared police to arrest him for criticising Supreme Court judges after they ruled against his party in the case of
Tsvangirai had said that the Supreme Court was packed with biased judges loyal to Mugabe. He told reporters on Friday his arrest would be “the final nail in this whole delicate and fragile government.”
“If there are those who want to arrest me, I am here … I don’t want to run away,” he said.