Zimbabwe riot police clamp down on Harare protesters

0
53

by Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban with REUTERS

Riot police deployed in the Zimbabwe capital Harare fired tear gas at opposition demonstrators who turned up to protest despite a court order against the action.

The main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, called off the protest on Friday morning after they failed to overturn the High Court ban on protests.

But people who had already gathered in the capital and at the offices of the MDCwere violently dispersed. Some were physically assaulted whiles others were also arrested.

Social media is awash with photos and videos of the crackdown. Rights groups have condemned the actions which mirror a similar crackdown earlier this year.

The army were called in after police reportedly lost control of opposition protesters. The current protest is in respect of increasingly difficult economic conditions in the southern African country.

At the start of day, police maintained a heavy presence in the centre of the city as many residents stayed home and shops were shut in anticipation of violence.

Police cordoned off central Africa Unity Square, where the demonstrators had planned to gather.

Police and government officials warned that the demonstration would be illegal and threatened protesters with jail. The protests will spread to other cities next week, the opposition party said.

Photos of police crackdown

Police stand beside a woman injured during clashes after police banned planned protests over austerity and rising living costs called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019.

Police chase demontrators after they banned planned protests over austerity and rising living costs called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019

Protesters flee from teargas during clashes after police banned planned protests over austerity and rising living costs called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019.

Riot police detain a man during clashes after police banned planned protests over austerity and rising living costs called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019.

Riot police detain suspected opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters during clashes after police banned planned protests over austerity and rising living costs called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019.

Bystanders assist a woman injured during clashes after police banned planned protests over austerity and rising living costs called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019.

Riot police detain protesters during clashes after police banned planned protests over austerity and rising living costs called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019.

Riot police detain a protester during clashes after police banned planned protests over austerity and rising living costs called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019.

Protesters hold flags during clashes after police banned planned protests over austerity and rising living costs called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019.