Scores of people were arrested in Zimbabwe on Friday, July 31, as security forces thwarted planned anti-government protests. Reportedly, some small-scale demonstrations were held, and those arrested include prominent author Tsitsi Dangarembga and Fadzayi Mahere, spokeswoman of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance party. Military helicopters were hovering over the capital Harare on Friday, and police and soldiers patrolled the streets. No clashes were reported.
A heightened security presence should be anticipated in the coming hours.
On Thursday, July 30, roadblocks and checkpoints on routes into Harare's Central Business District (CBD) were set-up, ahead of the planned anti-government demonstrations on July 31. Employees and shoppers were barred from entering the CBD by police and the army. Similar scenes were reported in Bulawayo.
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 contract to a company allegedly selling COVID-19 supplies to the government at inflated prices. He was later released on bail.
Those in Harare, and Zimbabwe more generally, are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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