Anti-Mugabe protesters freed in Zimbabwe

Harare - Fifteen people, including a journalist and the brother of a missing political activist, arrested during a public protest against President Robert Mugabe were freed on bail on Saturday, their lawyer said.

The activists were rounded up on Thursday while they were holding a vigil in Africa Unity Square in central Harare calling upon Mugabe, in power since 1980, to step down.

"They have all been granted bail," lawyer Obey Shava told AFP.

Five of the group were charged with robbery and obstructing the course of justice and were granted $1 000 bail each.

The other 10 were released on $500 bail each after being charged for obstructing the course of justice.

Africa Unity Square has been the venue of a series of protests over the disappearance of political activist Itai Dzamara who was abducted in March last year, allegedly by military intelligence agents.

His brother Patson, who was among those arrested and charged with robbery, last week released a picture he said showed the missing man being held at an undisclosed location.

Opposition is mounting against the 92-year-old Mugabe, whose decades in office have been marked by economic decline, repression of dissent, claims of vote-rigging, mass unemployment and emigration.

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