Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.jpg
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Photograph: Photo by Al Jazeera English, used under CC BY-SA

Pastor Evan Mawarire, the founder of Zimbabwe's #ThisFlag social media movement, on Friday called for a protest against President Robert Mugabe and his government.

Mawarire asked his supporters in a Facebook video message to stand up and sing Zimbabwe's national anthem during a cricket match in the southern town of Bulawayo on Saturday.

Zimbabwe is scheduled to play New Zealand, and the game will be broadcast internationally.

"When the 36th over starts, you and I are going to stand up as a sign of saying for 36 years [of Mugabe’s rule] we have been quiet, but now we are standing up,” said the 39-year-old activist, who recently fled to neighbouring South Africa after receiving death threats.

"I want you to sing the national anthem. They can't shut you up. They can't arrest you for singing the national anthem," Mawarire said.

National army commander Lieutenant-General Philip Sibanda warned the military "was ready to deal with" those using social media to mobilise the population, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported Friday.

Sibanda described internet campaigns as "cyber warfare" against the government.

The ruling Zanu-PF party meanwhile said the protest action was a ploy by Mawarire "to achieve his political ambitions."

"If these people have issues, they must engage the government and not be confrontational," Tafadzwa Mugwadi, a senior Zanu-PF youth leader told dpa.

With the national flag wrapped around his neck, Mawarire, who doesn't belong to a political party, complained about the country's politics, economic demise and corruption in a video posted on his Facebook account in early May.

The video went viral under the hashtag #ThisFlag. On July 6, tens of thousands of #ThisFlag supporters shut down the capital by striking.

Mawarire was arrested and charged with attempting to overthrow the government, but later released due to a technicality.

Related stories

Latest news

Trump administration reverses transgender bathroom protections

The Trump administration on Wednesday withdrew Obama-era guidance about the use of school and university bathrooms by transgender students, local media reported.

Several Dakota Access Pipeline protesters arrested as deadline passes

Several people at a camp protesting against a controversial oil pipeline in the US state of North Dakota were arrested Wednesday after a deadline to vacate the land passed, local media reported.

Germany deports 18 rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan

A Kabul-bound plane with 18 Afghan migrants on board took off from Munich Airport late Wednesday, its passengers becoming the third group of rejected asylum seekers to be deported by German authorities back to Afghanistan.

New Romanian justice minister named after anti-corruption protests

Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has named a former judge to be the country's next justice minister, after the previous office holder resigned under pressure from mass anti-corruption protests.

Le Pen's chief of staff indicted in European Parliament jobs probe

The chief of staff of Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for president in upcoming French elections, was indicted Wednesday over allegations of irregular reimbursements from the European Parliament, a judicial source told dpa.

Montenegrin police extradites Miodrag Jovic to Croatia

Montenegrin police reported on Wednesday that they extradited to Croatia Miodrag Jovic (48) from Glina, after whom Interpol Zagreb issued an arrest warrant.

Croatian minister attends CoMoCoSEE conference in Albania

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek participated in a third conference of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-Eastern Europe (CoMoCoSEE) that took place in Tirana on February 21-22.

New Somali president asks al-Shabaab to surrender to 'help' country

Somalia's newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo asked Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab to surrender in order "to help rebuild" the conflict-ridden East African nation.

Serbia's EU negotiator says minority rights neglected

The head of the Serbia's European Union accession negotiation team, Tanja Miscevic, said in Novi Sad on Wednesday that minority rights had been neglected for many years and added that positive results in that regard cannot be achieved over night, the Beta news agency has reported. 

Scientists: Nearby star's 7 rocky planets are "best bet" for life

New analysis of telescope data shows a dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth has at least seven apparently rocky planets with potential to harbour water, an international team of scientists announced Wednesday.

Croatian PM receives EIB Vice-President

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met on Wednesday with European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Dario Scannapieco for talks on the bank's contribution to a new investment cycle in Croatia and its support to the Croatian government to implement key projects, a press release from the government's office said.

Bomb explodes outside police officer's home in Northern Ireland

A bomb exploded outside a police officer's home in Northern Ireland on Wednesday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.