Chaos in Harare as riot police disperse protesters


World, Africa

Some demonstrators were arrested by police and several were arrested.

A woman lies on the road after being injured by police during protests in Harare on Friday. The main Opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country. (Photo: AP)

Harare: Zimbabwe’s police fired tear gas on Friday to disperse anti-government protesters in the centre of the capital, Harare.

A few hundred demonstrators gathered in Africa Unity Square, despite a police ban on the protest that was upheld by Zimbabwe’s High Court.

Police fired tear gas that engulfed the central square to disperse protesters, who ran into nearby streets.

Some demonstrators were arrested by police and several were arrested. At least one person, a woman, was beaten by police. The court early on Friday rejected the application from the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, to declare the planned protest to be legal.

Although protesters gathered, many more Harare residents stayed off the streets and many shops closed to avoid any possible trouble.

The Opposition party had planned what it said would be a peaceful prot-est to press President Em-merson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address economic problems and organise credible elections.

The protests will spread to other cities next week, the Opposition said. Zimbabwe’s economic turmoil with inflation at 175 per cent, power cuts lasting up to 19 hours a day and water shortages are blamed for rising political tensions.