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Riot police and intelligence officers ransacked opposition party headquarters and the offices of independent election monitors Friday, hauling away material documenting President Robert Mugabe's apparent electoral defeat.
Hundreds of people were arrested in the raids, which sent a powerful message that Zimbabwe's longtime leader intends to hold onto power despite a growing global clamor for him to step aside and rising violence at home.
Officials from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said police beat dozens of members and arrested some 300 during the raid on its Harare headquarters. Material on vote-counting was seized from both offices.
In a statement, the MDC said 250 heavily armed officers had raided the building, taking away some 300 people including pregnant women and mothers with small children.
While some were staff members, most were supporters who had sought refuge in the opposition headquarters after being attacked by Mugabe loyalists, it said.
Mr Mugabe has already accused the MDC of plotting a coup against him with the help of the British government.
The human rights group Amnesty International condemned the raids as “unacceptable” and called on the authorities to cease all harassment of political and human rights activists.
The raids came the day after the top US envoy for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer, declared Mr Tsvangirai the clear winner of the presidential vote, basing her conclusions on results compiled by the ZESN.
Earlier this week, a group of Zimbabwean church leaders warned of full-scale genocide unless the international community intervened. The opposition claims that Mr Mugabe is waging a campaign of brutal suppression which has killed at least 10 of its supporters. Government officials have in turn accused the opposition of perpetrating violence.