Zimbabwe police fire teargas as taxi drivers' protest turns violent

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe center and his wife Grace stand at State House in Harare Saturday Jan. 23 2016

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe center and his wife Grace stand at State House in Harare Saturday Jan. 23 2016

Zimbabwe police fired teargas and water cannons and beat up protesting public transport drivers, amid rising unrest against economic woes as well as President Robert Mugabe's long rule. The government spends about 83 percent of its revenue on wages for state workers, according to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

Teachers, doctors and nurses are due to go on strike tomorrow over unpaid salaries and there are growing calls for a protest on Wednesday.

"We're encouraged by the response to our strike call and many teachers have heeded the call", John Mulilo, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, said in an interview.

"The Apex Council, sitting on today 7 July 2016, hereby advise all civil servants and health workers to resume to work as from tomorrow 8 July 2016".

"Government departments were operating without some of their staff who stayed at home". It is morally reprehensible that a minister can get approval to buy two vehicles worth $200 000 from a government that is failing to pay workers on time. Civil servants received a $100 advance with the news their salaries had been delayed.

The southern African nation has been gripped by a devastating drought, adding to the problems of high unemployment and an acute shortage of cash that has angered its citizens.

Minibus taxi drivers in the poorer satellite areas east of the capital, Harare, demonstrated on Monday against the increasing number of road blocks and the accompanying fines police demand are paid on the spot.

Amnesty International's Muleya Mwananyanda criticised the authorities after footage showed protesters being beaten with sticks.

Nationwide protests and strikes against the economic crisis in Zimbabwe have nearly brought normal life in the African country to a halt.

Each violent protest gives the State, which has more machinery than any of the demonstrators, an excuse to use brute force to crush dissenters and there can only be one victor in all this.

Last week hundreds of people blocked the Beitbridge border post, a gateway to South Africa, to protest against a government ban on food imports.

"Self-seeking people who were entrusted with the task of shepherding and driving our economy have betrayed not only the country but also their principals who end up being blamed for their misdemeanours", said Mahiya. He has promised that he will run again for presidency in 2018.

There were few people on the streets of the usually bustling capital of Harare after civil society organisations called for the strike to pressure President Robert Mugabe into tackling economic woes.

Similar demonstrations have been ruthlessly crushed in the past.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said: "We are aware that criminal elements are instigating and inciting members of the public to engage in lawlessness such as burning of shops, tyres and any other forms of mischief".

Most commuter omnibus operators were not plying their routes, a situation that left many commuters stranded while there were fewer people than usual in the central business district.

Bartolo Colon Replaces Madison Bumgarner on 2016 NL All-Star Roster
Red Sox bounce back with 10-5 win over Angels