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18 Nov 2017

Thousands rally in Zimbabwe to celebrate end of Mugabe era

Thousands have taken to the streets in Zimbabwe's capital Harare demanding the resignation of the country's longtime ruler President Robert Mugabe.

The protests, a watershed moment in Zimbabwe's history, also celebrated the role played by the military in ending Mugabe's grip on power.

The protests have received support from the ruling Zanu-PF party, the military, and the country's influential war veterans.

In context

Zimbabwe is on the cusp of new era

17 Nov 2017

Zimbabwe crisis: Mugabe refuses to step down following military takeover

On November 17, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 93, reportedly refused to step down immediately and was resisting growing calls for resignation.

On November 15, Mugabe was placed under house arrest during a military takeover.

The military was "engaging" with him and made progress in targeting the "criminals" associated with the president.

Mugabe also held talks with South African envoys.

18 Nov 2017

Thousands rally in Zimbabwe to celebrate end of Mugabe era

Thousands have taken to the streets in Zimbabwe's capital Harare demanding the resignation of the country's longtime ruler President Robert Mugabe.

The protests, a watershed moment in Zimbabwe's history, also celebrated the role played by the military in ending Mugabe's grip on power.

The protests have received support from the ruling Zanu-PF party, the military, and the country's influential war veterans.

Context

What context is this happening in?

The military takeover on November 15 came after Mugabe sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week.

This was apparently done for Mugabe's wife, Grace, to succeed him as president.

Since the army takeover, Mugabe has been under house arrest.

On Friday, he made his first public appearance speaking at the graduation ceremony of a university of which he is a chancellor.

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Who

Who has called for the protests?

Earlier this week, the leader of the war veterans' association, Christopher Mutsvangwa called for a rally to be held on Saturday. He also called for Mugabe's resignation.

On Friday, eight out of the Zanu-PF's 10 regional branches voted for Mugabe's resignation as president and party secretary.

Several Zanu-PF party leaders also endorsed and mobilized support for the anti-Mugabe protests, a truly unprecedented move.

Protests

What's the scene at the protests?

The BBC has reported that protesters were hugging soldiers and cheering for them.

The crowds chanted "He must go" while many carried placards calling for Mugabe's resignation.

Such scenes have been unthinkable for Zimbabwe, a country ruled by the controversial authoritarian Mugabe regime since 1980.

Several people hoped a leadership change would help end Zimbabwe's crippling economic woes and improve their lives.

A new beginning marks the "end of authoritarian rule"

"As Zimbabweans, we are saying to our army: Thank you very much for the peaceful intervention," said one demonstrator. "And it's time for the masses of Zimbabwe to say: Mugabe must go… For us, it's about a new beginning… the end of authoritarian rule."

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