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Calm returns to Harare after protests

The opposition MDC officially called off a planned mass protest amid fears of bloodshed after police banned the action on Thursday.

A protester holds a copy of the Constitution of Zimbabwe during a demonstration and clashes with the police in Harare on 16 August 2019. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Calm has returned to Harare this morning following sporadic protests and a police crackdown in the Zimbabwean capital on Friday.

The opposition MDC officially called off a planned mass protest amid fears of bloodshed after police banned the action on Thursday.

But small groups of protesters gathered anyway and were met with teargas and water cannons.

Zimbabweans are calling on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to step down, as the nation's economic crisis intensifies and citizens deal with rolling power cuts that last as long as 18 hours a day.

The MDC wants African leaders to intervene in the crisis, but senior journalist at Alpha Media Holdings Paidomoyo Muzulu says that's unlikely to happen.

“Unfortunately, the regional block doesn’t seem to be doing anything. The African Union is acting more like a brotherhood… they’re not addressing the real issues that affect people.”