Zimbabwe PM's rally thwarted, his party says

The Zimbabwe prime minister's party says police have thwarted its first showcase political rally in several months.

Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change, said Saturday police clearance for the meeting was only received late Friday.

About 2,000 supporters braved a heavy police turnout that included armored cars and water cannons in the western township of Highfield. Witnesses also saw militants of President Robert Mugabe's party threatening and assaulting people headed to the rally.

Police have banned several recent meetings of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party on security grounds.

Chamisa said Tsvangirai, billed to speak, did not show up Saturday because the rally had been "relegated" to a minor event.