Security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protesters during anti-government demonstrations in Harare, Bulawayo, and other cities on Monday, January 14. Thousands marched amid a three-day general strike called by labor unions and civil society groups to denounce a price hike which more than doubled the price of fuel. Protesters also blocked highways, set fire to makeshift barricades, and attacked the offices of companies which remained opened during the strike. Government forces also clashed with protesters in Chitungwiza who attempted to storm a police station and with protesters in Epworth who blocked major roadways. A heightened security presence, along with associated business and traffic disruptions, are likely in major cities at least through Wednesday, January 16. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
On Sunday, January 13, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the country's largest trade union confederation, called for a nationwide strike to be held starting on Sunday to protest a planned increase in fuel prices. On January 12, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on national television that gasoline and diesel fuel prices could increase by more than 100 percent in the coming weeks to tackle decreasing fuel supplies.
Nationwide fuel shortages have been ongoing over the past month due to importers' inability to secure foreign currency amid a long-running currency crisis. The country has been experiencing a deteriorating economic situation for more than a year, due in part to a lack of liquidity.
Individuals present in Zimbabwe are advised to fill up vehicle tanks whenever gasoline is available, ensure a sufficient level of fuel reserves before embarking on long journeys, and postpone nonessential travel until the situation stabilizes. It is also advisable to be vigilant at gas stations, where confrontations between drivers are possible. Furthermore, individuals are advised to closely monitor developments to the situation and avoid any associated protests due to the risk of violence. Those planning travel to the country are advised to bring a sufficient reserve of US dollars.
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