Zimbabwe: Protesters demand doctor’s reinstatement

A marching band plays as protesters gather outside Maputo’s Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre on August 16, 2012 in Maputo on the eve of 32nd summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The protesters consist of several civil society groups from across Southern Africa, ranging from environmental to women’s rights organisations. Southern African leaders will meet on August 17, 2012 in Maputo for a summit that will try to nudge Madagascar and Zimbabwe toward new elections under “roadmaps” that are a test of the region’s commitment to democracy. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

Police in Zimbabwe say they have arrested at least 12 people in unrest over the firing of a popular Canadian doctor from a rural hospital in the impoverished northeast.

Witnesses said Friday hundreds of villagers demonstrated outside the hospital run by the Salvation Army to demand the reinstatement of Dr. Paul Thistle who has worked in the Chiweshe community medical facility, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Harare, for 16 years. A church vehicle was overturned and riot police fired tear gas to disperse protesters on Thursday.

Thistle, from Scarborough in Canada, has been given until Sept. 1 to leave his post.

Witnesses said Thistle had disagreements with superiors over hospital development projects, but community leaders want him to stay.

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