HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Police leveled squatter homes and rounded up street vendors, leaving thousands homeless in Zimbabwe's opposition strongholds, in what President Robert Mugabe asserted was an urban cleanup campaign.
All the demolished homes were in areas that voted for the opposition in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections, and Morgan Tsvangirai, an opposition leader, said the destruction was an assault on the urban poor who make up its support base. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party claimed victory in the disputed vote on March 31.
State radio said yesterday that Mugabe, in his first comment on the crackdown called ''Operation Marambatsvina" or ''drive out trash," told the ruling party central committee that ''genuine players in the small and medium enterprise sector would be resettled in new and clean sites that befit major cities."
Besides demolishing shacks in townships surrounding Harare, police also raided squatter settlements around the country.