Zimbabwe opposition defiant as police ban protest

In Summary

• Human rights groups blame state agents. But the authorities have denied this, calling for an investigation and the arrest of the culprits.

• The MDC has said it will roll out the protests to other cities over the next week.

It says anyone taking part will be doing so illegally, sparking fears of violence.
It says anyone taking part will be doing so illegally, sparking fears of violence.
Image: COURTESY

Zimbabwe's police has banned a planned mass demonstration by the opposition on Friday to protest against the country's worsening economic crisis.

It says anyone taking part will be doing so illegally, sparking fears of violence.

But Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party insists it will go ahead as it complied with the law by notifying the authorities.

"Only a legitimate people's government can deal with people's grievances," Nelson Chamisa, the MDC leader, has tweeted.

August 16 is a special day in this peaceful struggle.Only a legitimate people’s government can deal with the people’s grievances.Will engage in a persistent peaceful struggle until Zimbabwe is the land of the happy and free.Real Change is the only answer to Zimbabwe’s questions.

He said that calling for peaceful change was necessary as Zimbabweans were suffering with increasing levels of poverty, rising prices and high inflation, and repression.

In the run up to this protest, at least six civil society and opposition members have allegedly been abducted and tortured, for mobilising protesters.

Human rights groups blame state agents. But the authorities have denied this, calling for an investigation and the arrest of the culprits.

The call for protests has renewed tensions here. Demonstrations in January over fuel price hikes claimed 12 lives.

Since then inflation has surged and is now close to 200%, a 10-year high.

Shortages of fuel, power and water are widespread and the price of bread has increased five-fold since April.

After the military forced long-time ruler Robert Mugabe to resign as president in November 2017, his successor, Emmerson Mnanagagwa, promised a return to democracy, prosperity and re-engagement with the international community.

But he faces discontent at home over the economy and increasing international criticism for repression.

The MDC has said it will roll out the protests to other cities over the next week.