Tensions flare as Zimbabwe police beat protesters

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 16, 2019 - Duration: 01:35s

Tensions flare as Zimbabwe police beat protesters

Police fired tear gas and beat opposition party supporters who had gathered in downtown Harare on Friday in defiance of a ban on anti-government rallies.

The MDC party has called the government "fascist." Serena Chaudhry reports.


Tensions flare as Zimbabwe police beat protesters

Violence unleashed on the streets of Harare.

Riot police fired tear gas and beat scores of opposition supporters, who had gathered despite a ban on anti-government protests.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PROTESTER, PATIENCE GURURE, SAYING: "We want change because we are tired of promises, promises, promises.

We are tired, enough is enough." (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROTESTER, NOBLE MAKONI, SAYING: "This demonstration for today, we want national dialogue, not political dialogue, so we are telling Mnangagwa that please, come and sit down for national dialogue." Friday's (August 16) demonstration was supposed to have been the first in a series of protests across Zimbabwe.

Organized by the Movement for Democratic Change.

But a ban on the protests was announced late on Thursday (August 15) and armed police moved to block access to the party's headquarters.

After a court appeal against the rally failed, the MDC called it off, denouncing the government as "fascist".

The main opposition party accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government of state-sponsored violence, corruption and economic mismanagement.

Mnangagwa, who came into power after the ousting of Robert Mugabe, initially brought hope of breaking a long legacy of repression.

But he's so far failed to make good on promises of political and economic reform.

And Zimbabwe is grappling with its worst economic crisis in a decade, battling soaring inflation, rolling power cuts and fuel and bread shortages.

The U.N.

Has urged the government to "stop cracking down on peaceful protesters" and engage with citizens on legitimate economic grievances.

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