Lives lost, internet blocked as Zimbabwe protests turn violent

Violent protests in Zimbabwe claimed lives on Monday as soldiers were deployed to quell protests after the government more than doubled fuel prices.
At least 13 people had sustained gunshot wounds in and around Harare, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said.

Owen Ncube, the minister of state for national security, said the protests were “wellorchestrated”, given the widespread scenes of looting, burning of tyres and barricades across roads in both cities.

Ncube blamed the protests on meetings allegedly held last month by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a civic society group. He said the series of meetings held by the group were meant to cause disturbances in the country.

Access to the internet and social media platforms has been restricted in the southern African nation, according to the global internet access campaigner NetBlocks.

Protesters burnt tyres and barricaded roads while cars were torched as demonstrations turned violent.

president Emmerson Mnangagwa is away on a five-nation tour which began in Moscow, Russia. He is expected to meet on Tuesday with President Vladimir Putin. He is yet to comment onthe unrest.

At least 200 people are understood to have been arrested by police in connection with the protests. On Sunday, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions called on citizens to stay away in protest over fuel prices hiked on Saturday by Mnangagwa.

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