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The Latest: Demonstrators shift to symbolic Zimbabwe Grounds

The Latest on Zimbabwe’s political turmoil (all times local):

10:20 a.m.

Soldiers have begun approaching the several thousand demonstrators in Zimbabwe’s capital and urging them to head to the Zimbabwe Grounds, where speeches are set to be delivered.

Saturday’s events are an extraordinary show of support for the military’s move to step in and put longtime President Robert Mugabe under house arrest. Impatient Zimbabweans are urging the reluctant Mugabe to step aside.

The Zimbabwe Grounds were chosen for the symbolism. The location is where Zimbabweans gathered to cheer Mugabe’s return from exile in 1980 after the liberation war from white minority rule.

Now the crowds wish to meet there and urge Mugabe’s departure.

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9:25 a.m.

Opponents of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe are preparing to demonstrate for the ouster of the 93-year-old leader who is virtually powerless and deserted by most of his allies.

Zimbabwe’s generals have placed Mugabe under house arrest and have allowed him limited movement while talks on his exit from office unfold. But many Zimbabweans are growing impatient and want him to leave immediately.

Protesters hope a big turnout on Saturday will speed up the official end of Mugabe’s rule, which is widely blamed for the collapse of an economy that was once one of Africa’s wealthiest.

Euphoric crowds are gathering on some main streets in downtown Harare and motorists are honking their horns and people are whistling and cheering even as many go about their daily business.

Source: International News

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