Zimbabwe police fired warning shots and teargas as a protest strike against President Robert Mugabe’s economic policies gripped the country on Wednesday, closing businesses and crippling public transport, AFP reports:
The strike follows days of unrest over the government’s failure to pay civil servants’ salaries, a currency shortage, import restrictions and multiple police road blocks reportedly extorting cash from motorists. Under Mugabe’s authoritarian rule, protests and strikes have been rare in Zimbabwe despite about 90 percent of the population being out of formal employment. The last similar protests took place in 1998 when riots erupted over the price of bread… There were few people on the streets of the usually bustling capital Harare after civil society organisations called the strike to pressure Mugabe to tackle economic woes.
“This is a sign of economic collapse which has left people with nothing more to sacrifice and nothing to lose,” Dumisani Nkomo, spokesman for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition campaign group, told AFP.
“We are heading towards a tipping point as a country, where citizens will express their pain by any means.”
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said police had arrested at least 20 people across the country.