The United States has sanctioned Zimbabwe's state security minister over alleged human rights abuses, just hours after Zimbabwe's government defiantly marked its first Anti-Sanctions public holiday.
State Security Minister Owen Ncube, a close ally of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is banned from entering the United States.
The U.S. and others have expressed shock and concern over sometimes deadly crackdowns against activists and others in the southern African nation as the economy collapses and frustration grows. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a separate statement on Twitter said that state-sanctioned violence in Zimbabwe "must end now."
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Zimbabwe's government asserts that sanctions are to blame for its crisis, and it rallied hundreds of people in the capital Friday to mark the new anti-sanctions holiday. The U.S. says sanctions are against entities and individuals, including Mnangagwa, and not against the country as a whole.