Zimbabwe Government Ordered to Extend Vote

HARARE, Zimbabwe, MARCH 10, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The high court ordered the government to extend voting by one day in this country´s bitterly contested presidential election, the Associated Press reported.

But about an hour after the ruling today, 60 riot police charged into a polling station in the capital, Harare, chasing away 2,500 to 3,000 people waiting to vote, said an opposition observer, too scared to give AP his name.

Opposition officials said they had won a voting extension from Judge Ben Hlatshwayo for the entire country. Justice Minister Patrick Chinimasa told opposition lawyers that he would launch an urgent appeal to the Supreme Court tonight.

The election pits former union leader Morgan Tsvangirai against President Robert Mugabe in the most serious challenge yet to his 22-year rule.

The campaign and voting have been plagued by violence and charges that ruling party militants intimidated the opposition and are trying to rig the vote. The government denies the charges and says the voting has gone well. It was not clear when elections results would be available.

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