Only a few days after the Zimbabwean police brutally dispersed protesters who defied the ban on organising a planned march by the opposition in the capital, they went on to ban another similar protest, in the country’s second city of Bulawayo, AFP reported on Sunday August 18th.
According to police spokesperson Paul Nyathi, the prohibition order has been issued in Bulawayo, Sunday August 18th, due to security concerns, adding that different business groups had appealed to the high court not to allow the march to proceed, as a number of these organisations lost their properties in January, when similar protests were held.
The banned protests organised by the main opposition group, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), were over worsening economic conditions, and the jailing of Chief Ndiweni, a known critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
A similar ban was imposed by the police last week, after the MDC called for protests beginning in the capital, Harare, over the government's handling of the economy. It witnessed a number of protesters defying the ban, and gathering in a square where the march was supposed to start, many of them from the MDC.
The police responded with heavy tactics, injuring people when anti-riot police used batons, whips and teargas, to disperse the protesters
It is thought that at least 17 people have died, and several injured, when soldiers opened fire last Friday August 16th, when protesters joined together in a demonstration, which is the first since Mnangagwa's decision to hike fuel prices by more than 100%, sparked nationwide demonstrations.
Mnangagwa, who took over from long-time ruler, Robert Mugabe, went on to win disputed elections in July last year, vowing to revive the economy, however, people in Zimbabwe are viewing things in a different light since then, saying that things have been going from bad to worse in the country.
These include shortage of basic necessities, of bread, fuel, medical drugs, and other goods, adding to the general high cost of living, moreover, the UN has estimated about five million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid, according to AFP.