Zimbabwe Police Wage War on Anglican Church

Services broken up for three Sundays straight
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2008 12:29 PM CDT
Anglican opposition Movement for Democratic Change worshipers leave a Sunday mass which was allegedly disrupted by riot police in Harare, Zimbabwe Sunday, May 4, 2008.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Zimbabwe riot police stormed an Anglican service this week, swinging batons to clear the pews, even striking a grandmother who bent to retrieve a fallen Bible. It wasn’t the first time, the New York Times reports. For three straight Sundays, Zimbabwe’s rulers have sent police to break up services, an escalation of its violent voter intimidation campaign and part of a greater fight over who will control the nation's churches.

Only the churches of renegade bishop Nolbert Kunonga have been spared. Kunonga is a staunch ruling party ally who once called Robert Mugabe “a prophet of God" and has been rewarded with a sprawling estate. Zimbabwe’s other churches profess political neutrality. “As a theologian who has read a lot about the persecution of the early Christians, I’m really feeling connected to that history,” said one bishop. “We are being persecuted.”