In pictures: Party atmosphere outside Zimbabwe Embassy in London

Jubilant Zimbabweans have told of their hopes for their country as they await the expected fall of long-time leader Robert Mugabe.

(Ben Stevens/PA)
(Ben Stevens/PA)

Scores of people sang and danced in the rain outside Zimbabwe House on The Strand in central London in Saturday as they celebrated what they termed "our Independence Day".

The demonstration, which many attending described as a party, took place as thousands marched in Zimbabwe's capital Harare to call for Mr Mugabe to stand down after nearly four decades in power.

(Ben Stevens/PA)
(Ben Stevens/PA)

Jackie Luvv, who left her homeland 20 years ago, said: "We are here to see a new Zimbabwe, the rebirth of Zimbabwe. We are calling it our Independence Day."

The 34-year-old said Zimbabwe under Mr Mugabe's rule offered nothing for her generation.

(Ben Stevens/PA)
(Ben Stevens/PA)

She added: "There was no future for us. We had finished school, we were bright but there were no prospects of anything."

Mr Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state, is currently under house arrest and is thought to want more time as negotiations continue around him stepping down.

(Ben Stevens/PA)
(Ben Stevens/PA)

Ms Luvv said: "We are certain that he is leaving. We are going to do it peacefully though. The world is watching."

Her schoolfriend Audrey Charowa said she had seen people from across the political spectrum of Zimbabwe at the gathering in London, reflecting unity among those wanting Mr Mugabe to leave office.

She said: "I'm here because we have not had democracy in Zimbabwe since the 80s. We've never been able to protest. The police always moved in in their riot gear."

(Ben Stevens/PA)
(Ben Stevens/PA)

Ms Luvv added: "What they did today (the march in Harare) is a sign of what is to come. People are ready for the change."

Many in the crowd in London waved Zimbabwe flags and carried placards reading "One Zimbabwe, one nation" and "Bob's not my uncle".

(Ben Stevens/PA)
(Ben Stevens/PA)

Karen Insalata brought her 15-year-old daughter Georgia to Zimbabwe House for the "party".

The business consultant, who also left Zimbabwe as a teenager, said: "We never thought this day would happen."

(Ben Stevens/PA)
(Ben Stevens/PA)

Asked for her thoughts on the future she said she is hopeful. Smiling, she replied: "Anything is better then Mugabe.

(Ben Stevens/PA)
(Ben Stevens/PA)

"It's a bit like anything is better than Trump. It's the same. Every single one of us has been affected by this guy (Mugabe)."

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS