Zimbabwe crackdown a taste of things to come, president's spokesman warns

Long queues have formed at petrol stations and shops

Long queues have formed at petrol stations and shops

Zimbabwe has constricted Internet access amid a week of deadly protests following an increase in gasoline prices.

The president, 76, told state broadcaster ZBC, that no leader could "have their security (forces) go to sleep when shops are being looted".

Mnangagwa, 76, had pledged a fresh start for the country when he came to power in November 2017 after Mugabe was toppled, ending 37 years in office that were marked by authoritarian rule and economic collapse.

Mnangagwa, who was seeking much-needed foreign investment on the tour, announced his return on Twitter, scrapping plans to attend the Davos summit of world leaders this week.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said in a statement that more than 240 people had been assaulted while 466 people arrested in the past week.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva at the regular biweekly press briefing, Shamdasani called on the authorities to ensure that the countrys security forces handle protests and exercise their power especially the use of firearms and live ammunition strictly in accordance with the countrys worldwide human rights obligations and the relevant principles.

"We are anxious with the deterioration of the situation caused by the potential use of excessive violence in confronting the demonstrations in Zimbabwe", Guterres told a news conference in NY on Friday.

It alleged that it had received reports of armed security personnel breaking into private homes of citizens, indiscriminately torturing occupants including children as young as nine.

With worldwide concern rising over the violence in the country, the former European Union ambassador has now weighed in, saying his heart is bleeding over the crisis gripping Zimbabwe.

"We don't have verification of the exact number of people who were killed or injured, but there are Doctors' Associations that are putting numbers out there that more than 60 people were treated in hospitals for gunshot wounds", says United Nations human rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani. Other people took to the streets. Albert Taurai told The Associated Press he had gone out to look for bread when plainclothes officers wearing masks beat him up, accusing him of barricading roads.

As NPR's Eyder Peralta reports: "Mnangagwa ushered in an era of historical civic freedoms: Police checkpoints were lifted and for the first time in decades Zimbabweans were allowed to air political views". Soldiers still controlled the long fuel lines in the capital on Friday, and many wary residents stayed at home.

Police have so far only confirmed three deaths.

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