Zimbabwe court upholds police ban on Bulawayo protest

The protests were over worsening economic conditions and the jailing of Chief Ndiweni a known critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa

The protests were over worsening economic conditions and the jailing of Chief Ndiweni a known critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa

BULAWAYO residents on Monday maintained their calm following the police prohibition of the MDC Alliance demonstration that was scheduled for Monday.

Authorities banned the march on Sunday and a court upheld this on Monday.

David Coltart, an MDC senator from Bulawayo and lawyer, called the ban "clearly unconstitutional and unjust", and told Reuters the party had lodged a court appeal that city magistrates would hear on Monday morning.

There were no reports that opposition supporters tried to defy the ban, nor were there reports of a police crackdown on protesters as there were on Friday in Harare. Few people turned up for an opposition protest Monday in the Zimbabwe's second city as armed police maintained a heavy presence on the streets. Police used tear gas and beatings with batons to quell the Harare protest.

In January this year looting sprees and violence also characterised the MDC led demonstrations in Bulawayo.

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Friday's protests were the first since Mnangagwa's decision to hike fuel prices by more than 100 per cent sparked nationwide demonstrations which left at least 17 people dead and several injured when soldiers opened fire.

The sanctions were imposed in 2002 when Robert Mugabe was president. Anger is mounting over triple-digit inflation, rolling power cuts and shortages of USA dollars, fuel and bread.

The economic crisis has brought back memories of the hyperinflation of a decade ago that forced Zimbabwe to ditch its currency.

The president, a one-time senior Mugabe aide, says the current economic problems are a result of sanctions imposed by the West against his predecessor's rule almost two decades ago, worsened by a severe drought that has cut the maize harvest in half.

The latest developments in Zimbabwe come on the back of appeals by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to have the U.S. and European Union drop sanctions against the country.

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