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London: Zimbabwe democracy vigil celebrates 15 years

780 vigils outside Zimbabwe Embassy since October 2002

  

UK’s longest weekly vigil? Modelled on picket of S African embassy

Protesters vow to stay until Zimbabwe has free & fair elections

 

London, UK – 10 October 2017

 

You are invited to join the Zimbabwe democracy and human rights vigil in London this Saturday 14 October from 2-6pm outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in The Strand WC2 (diagonally opposite Charing Cross station).

Saturday celebrates 15 years of non-stop weekly vigils. About 780 vigils in total. Vigil attendees will reiterate the call for free and fair elections and an end to human rights abuses by the Mugabe regime.

Please join us to show your solidarity with the courageous, inspiring human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.

You’ll find the vigil welcoming and uplifting – a lively, exhilarating mix of music, singing, dancing and speeches.

Co-organiser of the vigil, Dennis Benton, said:

“When we started we assumed it would take at the most a few years before Mugabe was ousted, given his huge loss of public support. Our aim was to mobilise the Zimbabwean diaspora in the UK. We’re still outside the embassy 15 years later because Mugabe is still in power, as one election after another has been rigged. We’re proud to have kept going this long and are still a rallying point for Zimbabweans back home, in the UK and worldwide. Our original commitment was to continue the vigil until there are free and fair elections. We’ll carry on until that happens, however long it takes.”

Human rights defender Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation will attend Saturday’s vigil.  He added:

“The vigil is modelled on the non-stop picket outside the South African Embassy during the apartheid era. On 12 October 2002, I joined Zimbabwean activists, refugees and exiles for the first vigil. Since then there have been about 780 vigils in all weathers. It is a staggering achievement to have sustained this vigil for 15 years. It must be one of Britain’s longest running vigils.

“The people of Zimbabwe have suffered decades of corrupt, tyrannical rule, including assassinations, mass arrests, detention without trial, torture, rape of political prisoners, withholding of food aid from opposition-voting regions and the creation of mass homelessness by the bulldozing of working class shanty towns.

“In addition, there is widespread nepotism, corruption and bribery. Mugabe’s wife, Grace, indulges in extravagant overseas shopping trips, allegedly funded by the state, while millions of Zimbabweans are malnourished, unemployed and destitute.

“I salute the many Zimbabweans who have risked their life and liberty to demand democracy, human rights and the rule of law. They are heroes and we will celebrate them this Saturday,” said Mr Tatchell.

See the Zimbabwe Vigil website: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk

And Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil