Zimbabwe army stops crowd marching on Mugabe's home
Zimbabwe soldiers blocked thousands of protesters as they tried to march on embattled President Robert Mugabe's official residence in Harare on Saturday, an AFP correspondent on the scene said.
The demonstrators, participating in nationwide protests calling for the 93-year-old veteran leader to step aside after the army took power earlier this week, staged a sit-down protest in the road after being halted by the troops.
The crowd got within 200 metres (220 yards) of the gates to the complex that has been the nerve centre of Mugabe's authoritarian rule, as large protests swept through the capital.
"This is not fair. Why are the soldiers preventing us to march to State House?" Rutendo Maisiri, an unemployed 26-year-old woman said. "It is wrong. We will stay put."
Mugabe and his wife Grace are "ready to die for what is correct" and have no intention of stepping down in order to legitimise this week's military coup, his nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, said on Saturday.
Speaking to Reuters from a secret location in South Africa, Zhuwao said Mugabe had hardly slept since the military seized power on Wednesday but his health was otherwise "good".
Meanwhile South African President Jacob Zuma said that the African region was committed to supporting "the people of Zimbabwe" after a military takeover and that he was cautiously optimistic that the situation there could be resolved amicably.
Zuma made the comments in the South African city of Durban as thousands of Zimbabweans celebrated the expected downfall of President Robert Mugabe in the streets of Harare.