Police clash with MDC-T supporters as Tsvangirai returns

By: 
Agencies

POLICE in Harare clashed with hundreds of opposition supporters Thursday morning as they gathered at the headquarters of leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The mostly youthful members of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party flooded the streets around his office in Harvest House, Harare, following his return last week from South Africa, where he had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer.

As the singing and dancing crowd waited, riot police barricaded major roads leading to the office.

“I am now well. I am back at work and the struggle continues,” Tsvangirai said as he arrived.

A few minutes later, police swamped the area and running battles broke out between police and opposition supporters, who were dispersed with tear gas and water cannon.

The demonstration of support for Tsvangirai -- for many years the focus of opposition to President Robert Mugabe -- came amid protests against corruption and economic mismanagement in Zimbabwe.

Security forces have been on high alert in Harare following the release of Pastor Evan Mawarire on Wednesday night. He was arrested after calling for a nationwide strike but was released when a court dismissed the subversion case against him.

The online #ThisFlag campaign has called for people to stay at home until the government addresses a five-point ultimatum.

“Although people were intimidated from staging some protests today after my arrest, the struggle continues and we shall not back down,” Mawarire said after his release.

Zimbabwe has been hit by a fresh economic crisis that has seen the government struggle to pay workers and banks run out of cash. Recent demonstrations over the economy and police corruption have seen security forces respond by beating protesters.

 

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