Northlanders have joined a series of global demonstrations and will participate in a peaceful protest this week against Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe as calls grow for him to step down from power.

Worldwide protests, both online through the #thisflag movement and staged demonstrations, followed a heartfelt plea by Zimbabwean Pastor Evan Mawarire calling for compatriots to claim back their flag, and for an end to corruption and human rights abuse under Mr Mugabe.

Paulette Scrooby, of Whangarei, is calling on Northlanders to join her in Auckland on Saturday for a peaceful demonstration under the hashtag #thisflagnz.

So far at least 20 Northlanders - many expats - were keen to participate but that number could grow by the end of the week, she said.


Ms Scrooby was born in Zimbabwe and said the groundswell of support against the 92-year-old president - the only leader Zimbabwe has known since independence 36 years ago - was growing globally.

Even those who have traditionally supported him, including the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association, were adding their voices to say Mr Mugabe's time was up.

Ms Scrooby said transport could be arranged for Northlanders interested in going down to Auckland but who faced difficulty getting to and from the protest venue.

"It's the first time we've had such grassroots support for a change rather than calls for a change at a political level and that's what intrigued me," she said.

"People are just owning it in their own little way. At the cricket match in Bulawayo (Black Caps v Zimbabwe) the other day, police arrested 14 people for carrying Zimbabwe flags and singing the national anthem."

Ms Scrooby said Northlanders could add pressure on the New Zealand Government to hold Mr Mugabe accountable.

Those interested in joining the protest in Auckland can contact Ms Scrooby on 021 308 050.

Pastor Mawarire has lately become a target of Mr Mugabe who accused him of being an agent of western countries to stir dissonance in Zimbabwe.

He sought refuge in South Africa after treason charges against him were dismissed.