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Protesters barricaded roads and
burned tires in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare on Monday, as anger over the worst
economic crisis in a decade spilled onto the streets and piled pressure on
President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Police fired teargas to contain unrest in several Harare suburbs and
Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo, two days after Mnangagwa announced a
massive fuel price hike in an effort to contain a runaway currency crunch.
Cash shortages have plunged the southern African nation’s economy into disarray,
threatening widespread social unrest and undermining Mnangagwa’s efforts to win
back foreign investors sidelined under his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
Everyday life is getting increasingly tough with the price of basic goods
spiraling and medical supplies in short supply.
Motorists wait for hours to fill up at petrol stations where soldiers are
often deployed to break up fights over who is next in line.
News of the 150 percent increase in fuel prices was greeted with shock in
Zimbabwe where unemployment is over 80 percent. The government sets fuel prices
via the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Agency.
Hundreds of residents in the townships of Epworth, Mabvuku and Mbare, all
opposition strongholds, protested by setting tires alight and blocking roads with
stones after the main labor union called for a three-day strike starting on
Monday in response to the price increase.
The authorities are keen to avoid a repeat of post-election violence in
August in which six people were killed after the army intervened.
A Reuters witness saw protesters chanting anti-Mnangagwa songs in Mbare
while riot police stood at a distance to block demonstrators marching into
Some commuters could be seen walking home from the city center because there
were no public taxis.