Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters shout political slogans and hold placards during a protest against the Zimbabwean government on May 28, 2016 in Bulawayo
Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) (AFP) - Zimbabwe’s main opposition staged a mass rally against President Robert Mugabe on Saturday , calling on the 92-year-old leader to step down over his failure to fix the economy.
Thousands of placard-waving Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters gathered in the second city of Bulawayo,chanting slogans and singing songs denouncing the veteran leader who has been in power since 1980.
"You are too old Mugabe- Step Down". one banner read, while another was emblazoned with the words; "Mugabe can rig elections but cannot rig the economy".
The MDC protest followed a similar march in the capital Harare last month, the largest against Mugabe in nearly a decade.
On Wednesday, Mugabe supporters held their own march in support of the veteran leader, drawing a huge crowd.
On Saturday MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s deputy Thokozani Khupe addressed a sea of supporters in red t-shirts, the party colours, vowing that demonstrations would continue until Mugabe’s regime relinquishes power.
"The time has come for Zimbabweans to draw a line and say ‘enough is enough,’" Khupe told cheering supporters gathered at an open space on the outskirts of the second city.
"We will continue with these demonstrations which will ensure that the (ruling) ZANU-PF regime is sent packing sooner rather than later."
Anti-government protests in Zimbabwe have often been brutally broken up by police, but the march on Saturday was carried out without violence.
Mugabe's decades in office have been marked by economic decline, repression of dissent, claims of vote-rigging and mass unemployment and emigration.
The country is also battling severe food shortages, exacerbated by drought.
Mugabe, the world's oldest president, has vowed to stand again for re-election in 2018.
But his increasingly frail health has sparked intense speculation over his eventual successor and the fate of the country when his rule comes to an end.
The MDC was once tied in a shaky power-share government with Mugabe's ZANU-PF following a 2009 political deal. The party has since been weakened by a crushing defeated suffered in the 2013 elections.