A Zanu PF supporter has strípped down to her knickers and confronted the US envoy to Zimbabwe as he was about to address a meeting with residents in Mutare.
The woman was part of a group of rowdy supporters who prevented the United States ambassador Bruce Wharton from addressing the meeting. Wharton was set to deliver remarks in the city when he was blocked by supporters of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, including war veterans.
"The demonstrators prevented him from giving his remarks. He is very disappointed about it because he is very keen to listen to people's views, even critics of the United States policy," said Sharon Hudson-Dean of the US embassy in Harare.
Mugabe's supporters sang songs denouncing the US for imposing sanctions on the veteran leader and his associates. Hudson-Dean said the recently appointed Wharton was on a "listening tour" in Mutare at the time.
In a tweet, the US embassy said "President Mugabe encouraged Amb @BruceWharton to travel widely and talk to #Zimbabweans. Sad that he was prevented from doing this today"
"While the U.S. values the right to peaceful protest, and notes it as a critical element of democracy, we regret that the roughly 130 protestors were not interested in a conversation. Ambassador Wharton spent about 15-20 minutes listening to their messages – written on placards and verbal – but was met with no opportunity for constructive conversation. The U.S. Ambassador recognises the critical need to work together to build a way forward but believes that this must begin with a respectful sharing of ideas," the embassy said in a statement.
The demonstrators were waving placards, some of them inscribed "We say no to illegal sanctions", "Zidera killed companies like Cairns, Zimboard, Karina, NRZ", "Zidera The Weapon of Regime Change", and "Zimbabwe Will Never Be A Colony Again", among other placards.
Before being confronted by the angry residents, Mr Wharton had a closed-door meeting with the city fathers at the Civic Centre in the morning.