Pressured by government, Zimbabwe opposition calls off Harare protest

Riot police patrol the streets after police earlier banned planned protests by the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019. — Reuters pic
Riot police patrol the streets after police earlier banned planned protests by the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019. — Reuters pic

HARARE, Aug 16 — Zimbabwe’s main opposition MDC party succumbed to government pressure, calling off a street protest planned for today after losing a court challenge, as police set up roadblocks and barred access to its Harare offices.

A series of street demonstrations planned by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which accuses the government of corruption and economic mismanagement, are viewed as a test of how President Emmerson Mnangagwa responds to dissent in a country tainted by a recent history of repression.

But police late yesterday banned the protest planned for Harare today, saying it would turn violent, and warned that anyone taking part would be committing a crime.

A High Court judge early on Friday dismissed an application by the party to overturn that ban, and MDC spokesman Daniel Molokele said it was calling off the demonstration in the capital.

However, protests planned next week in other cities would still go ahead. — Reuters

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