COLOURFUL flags, songs, the hum of a generator, whistles and the beat of spoons on pots added to the optimistic atmosphere at a #thisflag gathering in Perth on Saturday.
About 300 people attended the July 16 event coordinated by the informal ‘International Campaign for Zimbabwe’ group at Garvey Park in Ascot.
It was prompted by the arrest and release of the man who started the #thisflag campaign a few days earlier, Pastor Evan Mawarire, as well as the broader call for political change by those in Zimbabwe and living abroad.
Similar events took place in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday, as well as in the US, Canada and the UK.
One of the Perth organisers Marshal Mtangwani, of Success, reiterated the campaign slogan “enough is enough” referring to the economic and political issues that have plagued the country for almost two decades.
“This is a citizens’ movement,” he said.
“As Zimbabweans in Australia, we are fully behind the #thisflag campaign.
“We may not be home but our hearts are forever home – we will forever be people of that nation.
“The government in Zimbabwe has mastered the art of silencing the people.
“We are not going to be silenced anymore.
“Nobody should be persecuted for expressing their views.”
Robert Mugabe (92) has been president of the country since it gained independence from the UK in 1980, with the ZANU PF party, which has been widely accused of corruption.
Mr Mtangwani said citizens of the country, a constitutional democracy, wanted a government that was accountable.
Co-organiser and Rivervale resident Lucky Ngoshi said they were humbled by the turnout and support for the people of the African country.
Another co-organiser Keith Makuni, of Kardinya, said there would be another gathering in Perth in August and they would appeal to politicians for support.
They also planned to campaign against ZANU PF delegates attending the Africa Down Under Conference in Perth in September.
About 1000 people attended last year’s conference, which allows mining companies to present to African mines ministers, business leaders and executives from the mining services industries.