Zimbabwean religious leaders protest government

Posted: Friday, February 28, 2003

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwean church leaders demonstrated against repression and human rights abuses in their troubled country, protesting in the stadium where Australia and Zimbabwe were playing a World Cup cricket match.

The group of about 20 clergy gathered among the spectators and held banners with the name of their group, ''Christians Together for Justice and Peace.'' President Robert Mugabe has been accused of human rights abuses that have plunged the country into turmoil.

''We are trying to show the world what is really happening in the country,'' said Graham Shore, head of the Methodist church in Bulawayo.

The group consists of clergy from the Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Roman Catholic and other denominations.

''Our Christian faith compels us to stand in solidarity with the starving, the oppressed and suffering people of this land and pray for our liberation from the cruel yoke of oppression,'' the group said.

Monday's demonstration was carried out peacefully.

England's players refused to travel to Zimbabwe for their match, fearing rioting.

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