Zimbabwe: 2,000 people join anti-Mugabe protest in Harare

image copyrightEPA
image captionIt was the biggest anti-Mugabe march for nearly a decade

Two thousand Zimbabwean opposition supporters, some holding placards calling for 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe to resign, have rallied in the capital Harare.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called for countrywide demonstrations against the deteriorating economy.

The march went ahead after a ruling by the High Court. Police had initially denied permission.

It is the biggest such protest in many years.

"Mugabe has no solution to the crisis. We are here to tell Mugabe and his regime that you have failed," Mr Tsvangirai said in a brief speech to supporters.

"This is about jobs and improving the economy, which is in dire straits," he added.

At the scene: Brian Hungwe, BBC News, Harare

image copyrightEPA

This march was sanctioned by the High Court, not the police.

The placards told a story of displeasure. The young and the old, in red, took to the streets. The police couldn't do much besides watching about 2,000 MDC supporters, supported by trade unions and students, express their misgivings against the state of the economy and President Robert Mugabe's continued rule.

This had not been seen in Harare for many years.

The police ruthlessness against voices of dissent is well documented.

The march was peaceful and countrywide demonstrations are planned in the coming weeks, although it is not clear if those rallies will be allowed.

But the march shows that Mr Mugabe's long-time rival, Morgan Tsvangirai (above), who had been dormant since losing the 2013 election, remains a force to reckon with.

Elections are due in 2018 and President Mugabe, 92, says he will run again.

Opposition to that is now building both within his party and outside.

Mr Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980.

He remains active but his increasingly fragile health has sparked speculation over his successor and the direction the country will then take.

image copyrightAP
image captionPolice had initially denied permission for the march
image copyrightEPA
image captionDemonstrators accused the Mugabe government of corruption
image copyrightEPA
image captionZimbabwe suffers from high unemployment and poverty

Zimbabwe's economy has struggled since a government programme seized most white-owned farms in 2000, causing exports to tumble.

Unemployment and poverty are endemic and political repression commonplace. Many Zimbabweans have left the country in search of work in South Africa.