The opposition Movement for Democratic Change meantime accused Mugabe’s government of “working very hard to provoke the law-abiding citizens of this country” after riot police attacked citizens planning to take part in what had been billed a “mega” march by a combined 18 opposition parties.
A court had ruled that the march could go ahead.”[Police] assaulted and rained teargas in the city centre and at the Freedom Square near the Harare magistrates’ court,” MDC spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement.
Unrest is rising in Zimbabwe five months after a church pastor posted a video about his frustration with corruption and poverty and in so doing, launched the #ThisFlag protest movement.
Evan Mawarire has since left Zimbabwe but some of the protesters on Friday sported the national flag.
#ThisFlag organisers have consistently called for protesters not to be violent.
Opposition leaders have said they will reschedule the march for next Friday.
Zimbabwe’s ageing president on Friday warned opposition supporters against trying to stage “an Arab spring” as he left the country for a conference in Kenya while police with tear gas and batons clamped down hard on protesters in Harare.
The state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said Mugabe, 92, accused the opposition of embarking on a “path of violence” but vowed an Arab Spring would not happen in Zimbabwe.
“[Mugabe] said the violent opposition groups engaging in violence should understand that they’re fighting for foreign forces that have left people suffering after removing democratically elected governments,” ZBC added.
The report said that Mugabe was destined for Kenya where he will attend the Tokyo Conference on African Development.