Zimbabwe’s capital Harare was a pale shadow of itself on Friday as the army and police barred people from entering the central business district amid fears that a planned anti-government protest would turn violent.All shops, banks and food markets were closed as part of the security measures imposed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to ensure the opposition planned protest did not take place.
Soldiers and police officers also patrolled the streets of Harare’s suburbs and ordered people to stay indoors.
A number of opposition activists and lawyers were arrested for allegedly trying to get into the central business district.
These included opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance lawmaker Joanna Mamombe, the party’s spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere and award-winning author Tsitsi Dangarembwa.
Mamombe and two other MDC Alliance activists were arrested together with their lawyer Obey Shava while on their way to Harare Central Police Station where they were due to report to the police as part of their bail conditions in an ongoing trial.
The protest was called by the MDC Alliance and other opposition parties to express Zimbabweans’ displeasure at rising corruption involving high-level government officials as well as worsening economic conditions that have seen inflation rising above 800 percent.