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Zimbabwe opposition leader arrested, released again

[JURIST] Zimbabwe police on Wednesday arrested opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai [BBC profile] and twenty staff members ahead of a press conference where Tsvangirai was expected to denounce police brutality that occurred during a crackdown on anti-government protesters [JURIST report] earlier in March. Tsvangirai was released from police custody several hours later, according to a MDP official. Tsvangirari was previously arrested and allegedly beaten [JURIST report] during the last series of arrests; he was released [JURIST report] when prosecutors failed to show up at his court date. Amnesty International criticized [press release] the government for its treatment of Tsvangirai, and called on other African leaders to respond to today's events.

Police imposed a three-month ban [JURIST report] on anti-government protests last month after a political rally by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change [party website] led to confrontations between police and protesters around the country. Political tensions have run high in Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive] especially since Mugabe announced in December that he planned to extend his presidency from 2008 to 2010 to correspond with parliamentary elections. Wednesday's press conference coincided with a two-day African summit where leaders are expected to agree to ask Mugabe to step down when his term ends. BBC News has more. DPA has additional coverage.

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