Zimbabwe Court Frees Pastor Charged With Trying to Oust State

The much-hyped July 6 "shutdown Zimbabwe" which was engineered by a group of anti-Government activists with the aid of U.S. and French embassies was a monumental failure, contrary to privately-owned press and Western propaganda that the stayaway was huge success.

Mugabe has blamed the money shortage on sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the USA and European Union - though the restrictions only target a small number of individuals close to the president.

On Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo held a press conference to warn that anyone who took part in Wednesday's planned strike would face "the full wrath of the law".

Police were on patrol in the capital Harare a day after protest leader Evan Mawarire, a pastor who founded the internet ThisFlag protest movement, was arrested and charged with inciting public violence.

'Instead of suppressing dissenting voices, Zimbabwean authorities should be listening to protesters'.

Mawarire was charged with inciting violence when he was arrested on Tuesday, but prosecutors shortly before his court appearance Wednesday changed it to more serious charges of attempting to overthrow a constitutionally elected government.

The charge carries a possible 20 year jail sentence with no option of a fine, according to a copy of the Act seen by News24.

Frustration over a deepening liquidity crisis has put the 36-year-old government under increasing pressure to address the deteriorating economic situation, which analysts say could push protests to continue if the underlying issues remain unaddressed. Civil servants had not been paid their June salaries but were paid in foreign currency in the wake of the strike.

Mawarire had earlier been summoned by the police criminal investigations department but had said he had not broken any law.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba was not immediately available to comment on the charges. Mkwananzi was released on bail on Monday.

In a Sunday sermon streamed live on YouTube, Makandiwa claimed that he was seeing someone running towards the people of Zimbabwe.

The group is also pressing the government to end restrictions on basic imports, limitations which recently ignited violent demonstrations in Beitbridge on the southern border with South Africa.

He said the #ThisFlag movement's goal was to "get as many citizens as possible involved in nation-building".

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