Hundreds of protesters have reportedly gathered in Harare as of Friday, August 16, despite the ban on demonstrations imposed by authorities in the capital. Clashes between protesters and security forces were reported, with police using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.
Earlier on August 16, leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party have called off a planned demonstration due to the police ban.
A heightened security presence has been reported in Harare and its surrounding areas, including checkpoints on roads leading into the capital. Police is warning people to avoid all protests due to the risk of violence and unrest.
The MDC aimed at holding a mass rally to denounce the perceived corruption of government, as well as high unemployment rates, and a deteriorating economy. Opposition supporters are also calling for the release of six political activists who were allegedly abducted from their homes earlier in the week. Human rights groups have accused government security agents of detaining and beating the activists ahead of the August 16 protest.
Individuals in Harare are advised to monitor the situation, avoid any related public demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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