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ANC: Sponsored elements seeking regime change behind protests in Zim

One of the key leaders of the movement, Evan Mawarire, was arrested this morning.

A Zimbabwean policeman arrests protesters during a demonstration on 6 July 2016, in Bulawayo. Picture: AFP.

HARARE - The African National Congress (ANC) says sponsored elements seeking regime change are behind the civilian protests in Zimbabwe against President Robert Mugabe's government.

Zimbabweans stayed at home last week in a mass demonstration against the ailing economy, the lack of jobs and new import regulations.



One of the key leaders of the movement, Evan Mawarire, was arrested this morning and charged with public violence on the eve of a second stay away.





ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says, "These activities follow the statements we made earlier as liberation movement of the sponsored elements seeking to affect the regime change in the region. We think what's happening in Zimbabwe is part of that programme (sic)."

PASTOR TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN POLICE CUSTODY

Meanwhile, rights lawyers in Zimbabwe say Mawarire will spend the night in police custody.

Lawyers say that Mawarire will appear in court tomorrow on charges of inciting public violence and disturbing the peace.

The charges stem from his calls for Zimbabweans to stay away from work last week, and for another two days starting tomorrow.

Earlier this afternoon, police detectives took Mawarire in handcuffs to his home.

A copy of the search warrant circulated on social media suggested they were looking for a riot policeman's stolen helmet and baton stick.

There's been anger over the arrest on social media but it's not clear whether this will translate into support for the strike.