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by DANAI MWARUMBA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – STATE security forces have thwarted another set of anti-government protests in Zimbabwe scheduled for Monday.
Heavily-armed police and members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) have been massively deployed in the capital city Harare and major towns of Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Gweru and Mutare in a repressive effort to avert a similar situation that led to violence and looting last week.
At least 12 people were killed when forces opened live ammunition on demonstrators protesting an increase of 150 percent in the price of fuel.
Cars, buses and police stations were burnt. Over 700 people were arrested.
The workers federation, Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Union (ZCTU), arranged last week’s strike but government has blamed the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance and foreign embassies of attempting to effect regime change following the disputed July 30 elections won by
President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
Information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said property worth more than $300 million (R4,15 billion) was destroyed.
“The government and our security forces are on the ground and people should feel free to go to work and to school as security forces are providing everyone with safety,” Mutsvangwa said.
Home Affairs minister, Cain Mathema, said economic challenges Zimbabweans were demonstrating over were a result of MDC-Alliance sponsored economic
sanctions imposed by America and its Western allies in order to effect regime change.
“Government is doing its best to improve the lives of its citizens despite these challenges (economic sanctions),” Mathema said.
The fuel increase was a further blow to citizens already contending with poverty, unemployment and shortages of basic commodities and cash.
“The economic collapse is as a result of mismanagement by ZANU-PF government,” said MDC-Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa.
– CAJ News