Protests by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) scheduled for October 11 have been banned by police. The demonstrations, called for to denounce a controversial new 2 percent tax on electronic money transfers, were expected to take place in major urban centers, including the capital Harare and the cities of Chinhoyi, Gweru, Bulawayo, Masvingo, and Mutare. The union is also calling on the government to take measures to address a sharp increase in the prices of consumer goods. It remains unclear if the protests will go ahead despite the ban. If they do, clashes between protesters and police are likely. Further related protests are possible in the coming weeks. Furthermore, the vice president has threatened to revoke a number of business licenses due to high prices, which could trigger additional protests.
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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