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Protesters to hold mass anti-Mugabe rally in Zimbabwe

Thousands are expected to take to the streets here on Saturday to demand the resignation of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

The rally deemed as a “solidarity march”, is supported by the military which staged a takeover on Wednesday after a power struggle over the 93-year-old Muagabe’s successor, reports the BBC.

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) said in a statement on Friday: “The ZDF is therefore advising the nation that for as long as the planned march remains orderly, peaceful… and without hate speech and incitement to cause violence, it fully supports the march.”

On Friday, Christopher Mutsvangwa, the leader of the influential war veterans’ association, called for a huge turnout at the rally.

“We want to restore our pride and tomorrow is the day… We can finish the job which the army started.

“There’s no going back about Mugabe. He must leave.”

Regional branches of the ruling Zanu-PF party as well as war veterans, who until now were loyal to the President, are also saying that Mugabe should quit.

The President had been under house arrest since Wednesday’s takeover, but on Friday he made his first public appearance at a graduation ceremony here, the BBC reported.

Mugabe sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week, apparently to pave the way for his wife Grace Mugabe, who is four decades younger than him, to take over the presidency instead.

The military said it was “engaging” with Mugabe and would advise the public on the outcome of talks “as soon as possible”.

Mugabe has led Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.