Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mnangagwa brutality on show as police beat up protesters – PICTURES

By Farai Mutsaka

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

Protestors gather on the streets in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. The main opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as to try and force Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address the crisis and organize credible elections.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Protestors gather on the streets in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. The main opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as to try and force Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address the crisis and organize credible elections.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

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 which engulfed the central square to disperse the 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.

Riot police arrest and forcibly apprehend protestors during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. The main opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as to try and force Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address the crisis and organize credible elections. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Riot police arrest and forcibly apprehend protestors during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. The main opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as to try and force Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address the crisis and organize credible elections. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
An armed riot policeman gestures to a pedestrian in Harare, Friday, Aug, 16, 2019. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of Harare Friday morning while many residents stayed home and shops were shut fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration. Zimbabwe's High Court has upheld the police ban on the opposition protest.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
An armed riot policeman gestures to a pedestrian in Harare, Friday, Aug, 16, 2019. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of Harare Friday morning while many residents stayed home and shops were shut fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration. Zimbabwe’s High Court has upheld the police ban on the opposition protest.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

The clashes came after Zimbabwe’s High Court upheld the police ban on the opposition protest. The court early 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.

A woman lies injured on the tarmac after been injured by police during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of Harare Friday morning while many residents stayed home and shops were shut fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration. Zimbabwe's High Court has upheld the police ban on the opposition protest. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A woman lies injured on the tarmac after been injured by police during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of Harare Friday morning while many residents stayed home and shops were shut fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration. Zimbabwe’s High Court has upheld the police ban on the opposition protest. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A woman shows her identity card to a police officer in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A woman shows her identity card to a police officer in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

The opposition party had planned what it said would be a peaceful protest to press President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address economic problems and organize credible elections. The protests will spread to other cities next week, the opposition said.

Zimbabwe’s economic turmoil with inflation at 175%, widespread power cuts lasting up to 19 hours a day and shortages of water are blamed for the rising political tensions.

A riot police gives direction to a driver in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A riot police gives direction to a driver in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Armed riot police gather at a check point ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Armed riot police gather at a check point ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

From the hope that swept across the country with the forced resignation of repressive ruler Robert Mugabe in November 2017, the nation has returned to widespread resentment and fear, according to government critics and residents.

Six anti-government activists were abducted and tortured this week ahead of the protests, according to human rights groups.

People walk past armed riot police in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
People walk past armed riot police in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
People cross a road with a wheelbarrow near a police check point ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
People cross a road with a wheelbarrow near a police check point ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Police stop and search vehicles at a check point ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Police stop and search vehicles at a check point ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Zimbabwe’s president urged the opposition to engage in dialogue, but at the same time his government pushed parliament to quickly adopt new security legislation criticized as repressive.

To discourage the protests teams of police officers searched vehicles at checkpoints on roads leading into the city. Police said the protests are likely to be violent, and warned people to stay away.

“Do not take part, you will rot in jail,” shouted police officers through megaphones on Thursday in downtown Harare and some residential areas.

Armed riot police patrol the streets ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Armed riot police patrol the streets ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A riot police man kicks out at a man during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. The main opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as to try and force Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address the crisis and organize credible elections. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A riot police man kicks out at a man during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. The main opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as to try and force Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address the crisis and organize credible elections. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwean riot police block a road ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwean riot police block a road ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Mnangagwa, 77, came to power with promises of sweeping political and economic reforms. But now his government is widely viewed as an extension of Mugabe’s economic mismanagement and even more heavy-handed on security, according to human rights groups.

In addition to the debilitating shortages of power and water, about a third of Zimbabwe’s 15 million people are in dire need of food aid, according to aid agencies.

A newspaper vendor reads a copy of a daily paper as police block a main road ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A newspaper vendor reads a copy of a daily paper as police block a main road ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwean riot police block a road ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe's police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwean riot police block a road ahead of a planned protest in Harare, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Zimbabwe’s police patrolled the streets of the capital Friday morning while many residents stayed home fearing violence from an anti-government demonstration planned by the opposition. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A woman lies in the road after been injured by police during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug, 16, 2019. The main opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as to try and force Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address the crisis and organize credible elections. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A woman lies in the road after been injured by police during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug, 16, 2019. The main opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as to try and force Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address the crisis and organize credible elections. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Riot police arrest and forcibly apprehend protestors during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug, 16, 2019. The main opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as to try and force Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address the crisis and organize credible elections. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Riot police arrest and forcibly apprehend protestors during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug, 16, 2019. The main opposition Movement For Democratic Change party is holding protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as to try and force Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to set up a transitional authority to address the crisis and organize credible elections. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Amnesty International Thursday accused Mnangagwa’s administration of “using some of the brutal tactics seen under the government of Robert Mugabe,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for southern Africa.

“Instead of listening to protestors’ concerns about the economy, the authorities have used torture and abduction to crush dissent and instill fear.” AP