Harare - Thousands of people have gathered at the Highfields sports ground in Harare in what many describe "as a historic day".Zimbabweans have come from all over the country to demand that President Robert Mugabe resigns after being in office for 37 years. The streets outside the sports ground are lined with cars, trucks and buses that transported people from different parts of the country. Upon arriving on the sports field, they are met with chants of "welcome to the new Zimbabwe" and "we are finally free". Lawrence Mashiri, a resident of Harare, said he had come to celebrate.Zimbabwean protesters during the anti-Mugabe protest. (Felix Dlangamandla)"We are happy today. This our independence," he said."People say we got our independence in 1980, but that's not true. We are gaining our independence today," Mashiri said. "It's time the old man must go," he said. Mashiri said he was grateful that the army stepped in and took the country back from Mugabe. "If we get the right leaders, we can prosper," he said. People arrived at the sports ground in anticipation of opposition leaders and leaders of the War Veterans' Association. They posed for pictures with the army stationed around the area, with some thanking them for their contribution.One man, who only wanted to be identified as Simba, said he had travelled overnight from Bulawayo to "witness this historic day"."We have waited for this for a long time. We have suffered and now we are hopeful that our situation will change," he said.