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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > PTI > Report

Andy Flower, Olonga to wear black armbands

February 10, 2003 15:23 IST

Two leading Zimbabwe cricketers Monday expressed their displeasure over the state of affairs in their strife torn country and said they would wear black armbands throughout the World Cup tournament to 'mourn the death of democracy in the country'.

In a joint statement issued just before the start of Monday's match against Namibia in Harare, the two players said, "We cannot in good conscience take to the field and ignore the fact that millions of our compatriots are starving, unemployed and oppressed.

"We are aware that hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans may even die in the coming months through a combination of starvation, poverty and AIDS. We are aware that many people have been unjustly imprisoned and tortured simply for expressing their opinions about what is happening in the country.

"We have heard a torrent of racist hate speech directed at minority groups. Thousands of Zimbabweans are routinely denied their right to freedom of expression. People have been murdered, raped, beaten and had their homes destroyed because of their beliefs and many of those responsible have not been prosecuted," the statement said.

Besides Olonga, Zimbabwe has fielded two more black players - Douglas Hondo and Tatendu Taibu - for the match.

"Given the circumstances, we have decided we will wear a black armband for the duration of the tournment.

"In doing so we are mourning the death of democracy in our beloved Zimbabwe. We are making a silent plea to those responsible to stop the abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe. We pray that our small action may help restore sanity and dignity to our nation," the statement said.

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