A sheriff of the Harare High Court backed by riot police raided the home and party headquarters of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday in an attempt to seize property worth around half a million US dollars, state television reported.
In a statement, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) immediately dismissed the event as a "well-choreographed drama" meant to "embarrass" Tsvangirai.
It said no property had been attached, but state ZTV's Newshour programme reported that "more than 15 vehicles have been attached by the sheriff who was in possession of a list of more than 60 MDC vehicles earmarked for execution".
It said the MDC owed 13 former employees, whose contracts were terminated in 2010, amounts of up to $48 000.
Pictures on state TV showed helmeted riot police, clad in black body armour, milling outside the gates of Tsvangirai's plush Highlands home earlier on Tuesday.
In its statement the MDC said Tsvangirai was never part of any labour dispute with the former workers.
It said the sheriff and a retinue of riot police and state media journalists later descended on the party's headquarters in central Harare but were forced to retreat when shown a court order the MDC had won last year to stop the attachment of its property.
"The messenger of court, the riot police and the state media journalists left Harvest House with their tails firmly tucked between their legs," Tsvangirai's spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said.
According to the ZTV report, the sheriff had also been instructed by High Court Judge Priscilla Chigumba to attach Tsvangirai's second house in Harare's Strathaven suburb.