HARARE, Zimbabwe - Ruling party militants prevented the opposition from holding a rally in a Harare suburb yesterday, while police attacked supporters in Bulawayo and stopped them from putting up election campaign posters, party officials said.
However, two other gatherings went ahead as planned in Harare despite militants' threatening and intimidating supporters at the venue, Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.
"The people are so strong and so courageous. It was very successful," he said.
A court had struck down an indefinite police ban on opposition rallies Saturday.
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces President Robert Mugabe in a runoff set for June 27. Tsvangirai won the most votes in the first round in March, but not enough to avoid a runoff.
Independent human rights groups say opposition supporters have been beaten and killed by government and ruling party thugs to ensure the 84-year-old Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, wins the second round.
The opposition says at least 60 of its supporters have been slain in the last two months. Tsvangirai, who has been the target of at least three assassination attempts, left Zimbabwe after the March vote but returned in late May to campaign for the runoff.
Yesterday, Tsvangirai was in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, and made a surprise visit to a small rally in Kwekwe, where he urged supporters to go and vote, the party said in a statement.
"The people have already won. The coming election would only reaffirm this victory," Tsvangirai said. "Zimbabweans would resoundingly defeat the regime and begin a new life with hope of a better Zimbabwe."
In Bulawayo, the opposition said that police attacked supporters and prevented them from putting up election campaign posters.
A team of four party members was putting up posters when they were confronted by police and other security forces who told them that "it was Mugabe's country and only Mugabe could put posters on street poles and the MDC would not be allowed," the opposition said in a statement.
The team continued on to the railway station, but were followed by police on bicycles in riot gear. The police assaulted the MDC members with batons; one person suffered a broken leg and was admitted to a hospital, the party said.
Comment from the police was not immediately available.
Tsvangirai's spokesman, George Sibotshiwe, said Mugabe has turned Zimbabwe into a police state.