On Tuesday 13 March 2007, the BBC published the following eyewitness account on its website. According to the BBC, a 32-year-old man, John ("not his real name") spoke to its correspondents from a secret location in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, about the fracas that ensued between the police and the MDC leaders and their supporters on 11 March. Here are excerpts:
There were about 60 of us from the area where I live and we joined up to head to where the rally was going to be held. The police were already there when we arrived and were trying to stop the rally from going ahead.
By the time Tsvangirai arrived, there were more than 1,000 of us youths, all singing. When he came, he just started lifting his arms and everyone was celebrating to see the leader alive. That was when the trouble started because he wanted to talk to us and they were trying to separate him from us.
The situation was getting heated--Tsvangirai and the police were arguing, and we were carrying on singing and shouting, louder and louder. All in all, there were only about 30 police and [we] were more than 1,000. We were too many for them.
They couldn't control what was happening. They started throwing tear gas. Some of them took Tsvangirai and the MDC officials that were with him and forced them in their vehicles. They drove away in two pick-ups and a white Toyota defender.
A lot of people started fleeing from the tear gas but some of us stayed and sang, in defiance. We started fighting back. We threw stones at them, and when they began rushing towards us, we started fighting with them because we wanted our freedom and we wanted our leader to...