HARARE, Zimbabwe – Police banned a rally planned by Zimbabwe's prime minister Saturday and some of his supporters were beaten as they approached the event site, plunging the country's fragile coalition government deeper into crisis.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party said it would seek a court order allowing their meetings and rallies to be left unhindered.
Authorities had banned Saturday's prayer and peace vigil, saying it posed a risk of clashes because it coincided with another rally being held nearby for longtime President Robert Mugabe's party.
Police surrounded the venue west of the city center where hundreds of Mugabe militants were allowed to gather. Witnesses said Tsvangirai supporters who approached, thinking it was their rally, were chased away and several were assaulted.
Mugabe, who had been in power since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, was forced to join the troubled power- sharing coalition with Tsvangirai after disputed, violence-ridden elections in 2008. Political violence has again surged since December when Mugabe called for elections this year to bring an end to the shaky coalition.