Zimbabwe police tighten security ahead of World Cup

Published: Friday, January 17, 2003, 23:59 [IST]
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Harare: Police in Zimbabwe has vowed to step up security ahead of World Cup cricket matches due to be played here next month, newspaper reports said on Friday. "The situation is very much under control," police commissioner Augustine Chihuri was quoted as saying by the state-run 'Herald' newspaper. A Zimbabwean coalition of civic and political groups on Thursday vowed to hold widespread anti-government demonstrations ahead of the tournament.

"We are aware that there are certain people and influences that would not want to see peace prevail in this country, but let me assure members of the public that we will host the cricket games in peace," Chihuri said. Zimbabwe will co-host the World Cup with South Africa and Kenya from February 8 to March 23, with six of the 54 matches being held here.

Police this week accused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of planning to disrupt the cricket matches. Critics of President Robert Mugabe, including Britain and Australia, have called for a boycott of the World Cup matches to be played in Zimbabwe to protest at alleged human rights abuses committed by his government.

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