Zimbabwe police fire teargas as protests turn violent

They were charged with public violence, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an NGO that provided lawyers for them.

Since the Zanu PF government won the 2013 general elections, under controversial circumstances, the economy, which showed signs of recovery during the inclusive government era, has failed to find traction and is on the verge of a recession.

Property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed in Beitbrigde and Harare after cross-border traders and commuter omnibus operators violently clashed with the police.

Our correspondent says unlike other government workers, the security forces were paid on time in June.

Zimbabwe's securocrats and the Cabinet security cluster, comprising of ministers responsible for Home Affairs, State Security and Defence, reportedly held an emergency meeting of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) on Monday, as fears of unrest grew.

Zimbabweans yesterday peacefully expressed their anger against President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF administration by staying away from work despite groaning calls by the regime for people to report for duty.

Siyaso, one of the biggest and oldest informal markets in Mbare township near central Harare was also shut down and there were few vehicles on Harare's roads. Despite the violent protests in which a warehouse belonging to Zimbabwe's Revenue Authority (Zimra) and several cars were set on fire, authorities have refused to back down on the controversial bill.

"Government should give appropriate solutions to problems that are of social, economic and political nature". Word went out that people should change over to browsers such as Tor which would mean they could still tweet and Facebook events unfolding in Zimbabwe under a different ISP address. "If you have 80 percent or 85 percent unemployment, which is what is what Zimbabwe is said to have, then you don't really have a modern economy and the few who remain employed have very little negotiating power". A freelance reporter in the capital told Bloomberg News that numerous journalists had been detained and forced to delete pictures they had taken.

Mawarire said that if the demands are not met, "we will be shutting down the country again on Wednesday 13 July and on Thursday 14 July".

Late Wednesday, Minister of Home Affairs Ignatious Chombo appeared on national television saying "a third force" was behind the recent protests.

Reports are coming in that Government TV and media outlets are under heavy guard by armed soldiers and there is also an unconfirmed report that the Civil Service Commission will be conducting a head-count to find out who stayed away.

"Instead of repressing and suppressing the popular sentiments among the people manifesting in the demonstrations, government has to address the causes of the myriad problems facing the country", she said.

"The government called us "stupid" at first".

Zimbabwe's government coffers were already stretched after years of economic decline and this year's drought, induced by the cyclical weather pattern El Niño, which has wreaked havoc across the continent and the world.

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