Zimbabwean police arrested multiple people affiliated with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on Thursday, October 11, in the cities of Harare, Masvingo, and Mutare, as demonstrators attempted to go ahead with previously banned protests. In the capital Harare, ZCTU leaders were detained soon after they addressed a crowd outside the unions' headquarters, leading to clashes between gathering protesters and police. A heavy security presence was observed surrounding the demonstration site, with police reportedly armed with truncheons, guns, and teargas canisters. Further related protests are likely in the coming weeks.
Thursday's protests were organized to denounce a controversial new 2 percent tax on electronic money transfers. Zimbabwe has been experiencing a deteriorating economic situation for over a year, due in part to a lack of liquidity. Authorities have reportedly implemented the tax in a bid to address this major cash shortage. As of October 2018, inflation rates continue to increase as the government prints bond notes in response to cash shortages linked to foreign currency shortages. The government had hoped that the July 30 elections would lead to increased and much-needed foreign investment, but this has not yet materialized.
Individuals in Zimbabwe are advised to avoid all protests due to the risk of violence and closely monitor developments to the situation.
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