Zimbabwe ‘shut down’

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A police officer is assisted after being assaulted by angry protesters in Harare, Monday, July, 4, 2016. Police in Zimbabwes capital fired tear gas and water cannons in an attempt to quell rioting by taxi and mini bus drivers protesting what they describe as police harassment.  The violence came amid a surge in protests in recent weeks because of economic hardships and alleged mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

A police officer is assisted after being assaulted by angry protesters in Harare, Monday, July, 4, 2016. Police in Zimbabwes capital fired tear gas and water cannons in an attempt to quell rioting by taxi and mini bus drivers protesting what they describe as police harassment. The violence came amid a surge in protests in recent weeks because of economic hardships and alleged mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Zimbabwean protesters have managed to completely to shut down the business in the countries major cities.

Zimbabwe police fired warning shots and teargas as a protest strike against President Robert Mugabe’s economic policies gripped the country on Wednesday, closing businesses and crippling public transport.

The strike follows days of unrest over the government’s failure to pay civil servants’ salaries, a currency shortage, import restrictions and multiple police road blocks reportedly extorting cash from motorists.

Under Mugabe’s authoritarian rule, protests and strikes have been rare in Zimbabwe despite about 90 percent of the population being out of formal employment. The last similar protests took place in 1998 when riots erupted over the price of bread.

There were few people on the streets of the usually bustling capital Harare after civil society organisations called the strike to pressure Mugabe to tackle economic woes.

“I can’t go to work when the rest of the country is not going to work,” said Sybert Marumo, who works for an electrical shop.

“Life is tough and we need to show the government that we have been stretched to the limit.”

Children were seen streaming home from school after teachers failed to turn up.

Telecommunications, including internet and WhatsApp services, were erratic and the government regulator warned against anyone sharing “abusive and subversive material”.

“All SIM cards in Zimbabwe are registered in the name of the user, so perpetrators can easily be identified,” the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said in a statement read on state television.

Anyone in possession of messages “that may be deemed to cause despondency, incite violence, threaten citizens and cause unrest will be arrested”.

Mugabe’s government has delayed pay dates for civil servants as treasury funds run short after years of economic decline, worsened by a severe drought which has hit agriculture.

The country’s second largest city, Bulawayo, was under almost complete shutdown, with shops, banks and courts closed, an AFP reporter said.

Police fired teargas to disperse people wherever they saw small gatherings, while the main bus ranks were deserted and commuters stranded.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31