Zimbabwe is steeling itself for another week of civil unrest – with the prelude being the appearance of 67 arrested protesters in a Harare court today.
The detainees made an initial court appearance on Saturday after being seized during Friday’s fiery demonstrations on the streets of the capital.
Opposition parties warned yesterday that expressions of anger at the failing regime of President Robert Mugabe would not dissipate and activists would not be cowed by police brutality.
Last week’s violence saw residents openly clash with the police. Shops were damaged and some state vehicles set alight.
Harare was tense at the weekend, with police and military patrolling the streets day and night.
Police conducted door-to-door searches in Mbare, the city’s oldest township and a hotbed of rebellion, throughout the weekend.
Some nightclubs and restaurants were forced to close early, with some patrons saying on social media that heavy-handed police officers had roughed them up in the process of shutting down establishments.
On Saturday morning businesses on the outskirts of the CBD closed shop.
Before flying off to Kenya for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, Mugabe, 92, warned against an Arab Spring-type revolution.
“They are burning tyres in the streets to get into power. They are thinking that what happened in the Arab Spring is going to happen in this country, but we tell them that is not going to happen here,” he said.
Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change – part of the coalition of political parties co-ordinating opposition to the Mugabe regime – said yesterday there was no way the president could stop the mass protests.
“People have been whispering their discontent and now it has just grown bigger – and it becomes unstoppable,” said the party’s vice-president Nelson Chamisa.
The US embassy in Harare said at the weekend that failed government policies were behind social unrest.
“The US is troubled by the economic policies that prompted recent protests.” TimesLive