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Zim's Mnangagwa criticised for not returning from trip as protests turn violent

Zimbabweans have taken to the streets to challenge a government decision to more than double fuel prices.

Angry protesters gesture as they block the main route to Zimbabwe's capital Harare from Epworth township on 14 January 2019 after announced a more than hundred percent hike in fuel prices. Picture: AFP

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa's five-nation tour of Europe and Asia has been widely criticised at a time when Zimbabwe is imploding due to severe economic difficulties.

Zimbabweans have taken to the streets to challenge a government decision to more than double fuel prices.

Various reports indicate that Monday's protests turned deadly and that hundreds of people were arrested.

Member of the MDC national executive Nqobizitha Mlilo has criticised Mnangagwa for not returning to the country to address the crisis.

"Now he has left the country for two weeks while the country is burning. He gives an announcement in the dead of the night that fuel prices are going up and he gets on a plane and he goes to Europe for almost two weeks. And when the country is in a crisis like this, this creates the possibility of another coup."

Mlilo earlier confirmed to Eyewitness News that the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC) headquarters in Harare was set alight.

Around 200 protesters have reportedly been arrested as citizens continue to demonstrate against a massive fuel hike of 150%.

Protesters looted shops, burned tyres and set police cars on fire as anger boiled over in a population that’s been pushed to the brink by years of economic difficulty.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has said Zimbabweans have the rights to protest but must remain peaceful and has urged the public to identify people filmed taking part in the violence.

At least two reporters were part of crowds teargassed in Bulawayo, according to the Media Institutes of Southern Africa.

There’s been a call for ambulances to be allowed through blockade after doctors complained there had been difficulties reaching the injured.

WATCH: Zim protests turn violent

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