Zimbabwe military uses tear gas on protesters

Saul Bowman
January 17, 2019

Many had to walk because they could not afford prices charged by the few public transport vehicles on the road.

These latest clashes were sparked by President Emmerson Mnangagwa's announcement of a 150 percent increase in the price of fuel on Saturday, January 12.

The country's main labour body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) called for a three day stay-away, saying among its demands was for government to urgently address the economic challenges and scrap the usage of the controversial "bond note", which authorities insist is equivalent to the United States dollar.

A man cycles past a gas station closed after protests in Harare.

Zimbabwean police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said among those killed was a police officer who was stoned to death by demonstrators. Internet completely blocked, army on the streets, violence and injuries.

Some services had been restored by Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), over 100 people have been admitted to hospitals across the African nation, mostly with gunshot wounds.

"Several people have been arrested, including Evan Mawarire. People are hungry at home", he said.

In Harare's high-density suburbs, which are strongholds of the opposition MDC, soldiers continued to raid homes and beat up people suspected of backing or taking part in the protests. The security forces assaulted some occupants and, in some instances, forced residents out of their homes.

"The internet black-out is worrisome and risky as it gave government blanket immunity to hunt down and kill people".

What would they say about Zimbabwe?

Pastor Mawarire was arrested by armed police at his house on Wednesday morning.

"Such abrogations of constitutional and basic legal rights are not what the people of Zimbabwe were promised under President Mnangagwa". He bemoaned looting and said dialogue was the way forward for the country.

"They need to engage with the people, they can't kill us all", he told Al Jazeera.

Zimbabweans in neighboring South Africa protested outside their embassy.

The president added that the country would like to focus on "manpower" first.

"Wanton violence and cynical destruction is not the Zimbabwean way".

However, worldwide condemnation of what rights groups described as a brutal crackdown increased with politicians in London and Washington expressing grave concern over government's response to the unrest.

Many protesters said the president - who left the country on Sunday for a trip to Russian Federation and several central Asian countries - should have cancelled his trip to deal with the crisis. There can be no justification for violence against people and property.

Beatrice Mtetwa, Mawarire's lawyer, told reporters that police "are alleging that he incited violence through Twitter and other forms of social media". Violence will not rebuild our nation.

"What will lead to a stronger economy is investment".

Mnangagwa is now on a visit to Russian Federation and is planning to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, next week to try to drum up global investment. Mnangagwa said Alrosa, the world's largest diamond company has made a decision to launch operations in Zimbabwe. We can take the Japanese yen, which is seen by many as a safe haven...you can take the USA dollar, but it will still collapse as long as we do not have the proper fundamentals on the ground.

"Your Excellency, I would wish that we now attend to deepening economic cooperation between our countries, and our country is developing - it is a third-world country - so that you, as a senior brother, can hold my hand as I try to develop Zimbabwe", the Zimbabwean president said. "We will get there", he said.

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