The Latest: Zimbabwe #ThisFlag activist says ‘stand up’


The Latest: Zimbabwe #ThisFlag activist says 'stand up'

The Associated Press
Map locates Zimbabwe and its capital, Harare where the country’s president and his wife are being held under house arrest by the military; 1c x 2 1/4 inches; 46.5 mm x 57 mm;

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

12:50 p.m.

The Zimbabwean pastor whose social media campaign led to the largest anti-government protests in a decade is calling on citizens to "stand up for peace."

Evan Mawarire, who founded the #ThisFlag movement, asks: "Should we just sit and wait or shall we at least be part of this transition process?" He urges that citizens not wait for regional leaders to broker the next phase.

Members of the opposition, civil society and religious groups are calling for calm and respect for rights as quiet talks continue to resolve the crisis and likely put an end to President Robert Mugabe's decades-long rule.

More than 100 civil society groups have issued a statement urging Mugabe to peacefully step aside.


12:35 p.m.

The U.S. Embassy is advising citizens in Zimbabwe to "limit unnecessary movements" as the country's political uncertainty continues.

The British government also is urging its citizens in the capital, Harare, to avoid large gatherings and any demonstrations.

The military remains in the streets of the capital.


11:50 a.m.

Amid the political limbo, Zimbabweans are enjoying freedoms they haven't had in years. The shift to military control has brought a kind of fresh air.

For once, Zimbabweans don't have to contend with bribe-seeking police officers who mounted roadblocks every few miles (kilometers).

Soldiers manning the few checkpoints on roads leading into downtown Harare are greeting motorists with a smile, searching cars without hostilities and wishing motorists a safe journey.

Street vendors who endured police raids after Mugabe ordered their removal are working without hassles.

Human rights groups are urging respect for rights as uncertainty remains.


11:35 p.m.

Regional officials are meeting on the Zimbabwe political crisis. Ministers with the Southern African Development Community are in Botswana for the meeting chaired by South Africa and Angola.

Their recommendations will be given to heads of state and government.

In addition, South Africa President Jacob Zuma will answer questions in Parliament on Thursday on a range of issues that almost certainly will include the uncertainty in neighboring Zimbabwe. Zuma said Wednesday he had spoken with Mugabe, who was "fine" but confined to his home.


11:25 a.m.

Zimbabwe opposition leader and former finance minister Tendai Biti's party is calling for a transitional authority to take over.

The party says in a statement Thursday that the transitional authority should be "made up of competent Zimbabweans whose mandate will be to put in place measures to turn around the economy" and build a better society for all.

Quiet talks continue in Zimbabwe to resolve the country's political turmoil and the likely end of President Robert Mugabe's decades-long rule.

Mugabe has been in military custody. Regional officials are meeting in Botawana on the crisis.


10:30 a.m.

People across Zimbabwe are starting another day of uncertainty amid quiet talks to resolve the country's political turmoil and the likely end of President Robert Mugabe's decades-long rule.

Mugabe has been in military custody and there is no sign of the recently fired deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled the country last week.

The military remains in the streets of the capital, Harare, as the mood is tense.

Regional officials are meeting on the crisis as civil society groups and churches in Zimbabwe issue appeals for calm.

A joint statement by more than 100 civil society groups urges Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state, to peacefully step aside and asks the military to quickly restore order and respect the constitution.

Trade unions have urged workers to go about their business.

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