by Tererai Karimakwenda on September 24, 2012
By Tererai Karimakwenda
24 September 2012
Zimbabweans in the United States took to the streets near the United Nations headquarters to protest the presence of Robert Mugabe and other Zimbabwean officials at the UN General Assembly, which begins this week in New York.
Although Mugabe and his closest allies are under targeted sanctions that prohibit their travel to the US, events at the UN are considered exceptions for heads of state and their delegations. Mugabe always takes advantage of this opportunity to travel with a huge entourage.
Zimbabweans, under the banner of the 21st Movement Global Protests which have been taking place in several countries every month, decided to show their disapproval and on Saturday gathered to protest near the UN headquarters.
Den Moyo, Global Co-ordinator for the 21st Movement, told SW Radio Africa they had a good turnout considering Zimbabweans are spread out across the US. He said many of them came from as far as North Dakota, Michigan, Washington DC and Philadelphia.
“Our message was to say to the UN you keep opening doors to dictators like Mugabe and this must stop. If you stand for peace and you stand for democracy and development then do not give a platform to him. He does not speak on behalf of us Zimbabweans,” Moyo explained.
The 21st Movement Protests were also held by Zimbabweans in London. Tonderai Samanyanga, the MDC-T UK chairman, said they gathered at The Vigil location by the Zimbabwe Embassy on the Strand, then took public transport to the Tanzanian High Commission and Botswana Embassy.
“The turnout was good. It showed the determination of our people to continue with this project. Tanzania just took over the chairmanship of the SADC Troika and Botswana had made statements supporting free and fair elections in Zimbabwe,” Samanyanga explained.
He said they conducted the demonstrations on a Saturday because more people were available on that day, as opposed to the actual 21st of the month, which was Friday. But the problem is there are no officials at any consulate on the weekends, who can receive the protest letters delivered by the group.
Samanyanga said there will be more protests on the 21st of every month, with locations to be announced nearer the time.
Details of the protests can be found on the Facebook page for the 21st Movement.