Zimbabwe fuel protests turn violent

Police moved in after protesters chanted for the removal of President Emmerson Mnangagwa
A picture taken on January 15, 2019 shows broken glass at the entrance of the damaged Zimbabwe Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) headquarters in Harare which was deserted in the aftermath of violent protests over the increase in the price of fuel. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP)

The widespread anger sparked by fuel price hike in Zimbabwe have become violent protests claiming lives.

Protesters burnt tyres, looted supermarkets and barricaded roads while cars were torched as demonstrations turned violent in the capital Harare and Bulawayo.

Residents in Bulawayo said police fired teargas “indiscriminately” in the city center and some residential areas.

Shops and banks pulled down their shutters in downtown Harare as riot police patrolled the streets and a military helicopter flew over the capital.

Zimbabwe’s budget airline, FastJet cancelled flights to and from Harare citing “unrest affecting travel on the streets of Harare”.

At least 13 people sustained gunshot wounds in and around Harare, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said on Monday.

Protesters turned back drivers and stopped buses from carrying passengers in the two main cities of Harare and Bulawayo.

Security Minister Owen Ncube, accusing the opposition and civil society organizations of being behind the protests, said: “Regrettably, this has resulted in the loss of life and property including injury to police officers and members of the public.”

Although Ncube did not give numbers or the identities of the dead, he said investigations were underway and at least 200 people have been arrested.

Zimbabweans on Sunday woke up to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s announcement of the shocking price hikes for petrol and diesel in a bid to improve supplies as the country battles its worst gasoline shortages in a decade.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been on the low for more than seven years now, suffering cash shortages, high unemployment and recently a scarcity of staples such as bread and cooking oil.


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