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Zimbabwe militants barricade finance minister's office as austerity measures halt pay raises

Zimbabwe's finance minister says militants from the president's party tried to invade his office demanding his resignation after they didn't receive an increase in their salaries and pension claims.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti insists he can't pay them until diamond mining earnings controlled by loyalists to President Robert Mugabe are fully paid into state coffers. Austerity measures in Zimbabwe's troubled economy have triggered death threats against Biti, including live ammunition sent in the mail and one gasoline bomb attack at his home.

He said Wednesday that hundreds of militant veterans of the bush war that led to independence in 1980 barricaded his downtown offices late Tuesday.

Biti, who is a close aide of former opposition leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, says he will not bow to demands for him to quit.