Nationwide anti-government demonstrations are scheduled to take place across Zimbabwe on Friday, July 31. The protests have been organized by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and are planned to coincide with a general strike against the deteriorating socio-economic situation in the country.
Jacob Ngaruvhume, leader of the Transform Zimbabwe opposition party, has also called for a nationwide protest on July 31, to denounce government corruption and to demand the resignation of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Both demonstrations have been banned by the government, citing restrictions on mass gatherings due to the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19).
On Monday, July 20, police arrested an investigative journalist and an opposition figure in the capital Harare in connection with the planned protests, the latest arrests in a series of alleged abductions of opposition figures. The two detainees face charges of incitement to participate in public violence.
A heightened security presence and localized transport disruption are likely around planned protest sites on Friday, with major security operations expected in Harare and other cities.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government has been accused of failing to deal with corruption amid adverse economic and health strains in Zimbabwe due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The country's health minister, Obadiah Moyo, was charged in June in connection with the awarding of a 60 million USD (47 million GBP) contract to a company allegedly selling COVID-19 supplies to the government at inflated prices. He was later released on bail.
Those in Zimbabwe are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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