DOWN TRODDEN: Residents being beaten up by police (photos: Newsday Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare was yesterday rocked by violent protests as different pressure groups prepare for what they have called, ‘Shut down Zimbabwe’ set for tomorrow.

The shut-down was mooted on social media through a campaign named #ThisFlag started by a clergyman, Pastor Evan Mawarire.

In a video statement, also aired by Zimbabwe’s largest private daily newspaper, News Day, Mawarire urged his fellow countrymen to stay indoors tomorrow in protest over government’s failure to deal with corruption, create jobs and stabilize the economy.

“Don’t go to work, don’t send children to school, we are making a stand. Let us save our country, we can’t continue to let it burn,” he said.

The shut down has also received backing from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

WAR ZONE: Riot police in combat
WAR ZONE: Riot police in combat (pic: Newsday)

In a press conference on Monday, its spokesperson, Obert Gutu said: “As a party we urge all our members to join any legitimate demonstration that is meant to bring pressure to this regime,” he said.

Meanwhile police have warned that they will deal severely with those inciting and engaging in violence.

During yesterday’s protests which were triggered by commuter omnibus drivers and touts, protesting against numerous roadblocks on the road where they said police are demanding hefty bribes, several people were randomly beaten up by police in various parts of Harare.

However one police officer had a taste of his own medicine when residents in one the areas turned on him and gave him a thorough beating.

FED UP: A protester steps on a riot police officer‘s helmet in Epworth, just outside Harare, minutes after demonstrators attacked the officer and disrobed him.
FED UP: A protester steps on a riot police officer‘s helmet in Epworth, just outside Harare, minutes after demonstrators attacked the officer and disrobed him.

The ‘naked’ officer was later rushed to hospital as residents had disrobed him.

Today several schools are reported to have closed as teachers downed tools over unpaid salaries from last month.

Chaos in Harare comes hardly a week after a warehouse belonging to Zimbabwe Revenue Authority was burnt down in Beitbridge by people protesting over government’s decision to ban importation of various goods including foodstuffs, furniture and agricultural inputs.

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