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Tensions remain high in Zim after police violently break up protests

Zimbabwean authorities have confirmed they've arrested more than 90 people after sporadic protests in Harare.

Protesters hold a poster of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa during a protest at Unity Square in Harare on 16 August 2019. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Calls have been mounting for Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa to leave office, as the opposition plans to escalate demonstrations in the capital Harare.

The opposition MDC had planned a major protest to draw attention to the country's worsening economic situation and rolling power cuts that that last up to 18 hours a day.

But police announced on Thursday that the protest would be banned and a court bid to have the ban lifted failed.

The MDC officially called off the action, saying it wanted to avert bloodshed. But some groups of protesters pressed on and video footage from Zimbabwe shows police clashing with them, using tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds.

Zimbabwean authorities have confirmed they've arrested more than 90 people after sporadic protests in Harare.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers group said it would consider an appeal in the nation's high court to win the right to protest. The group’s Abey Shava said: “We’re still brainstorming ways to move forward. We’re waiting on the MDC so that we can decide whether or not to appeal the matter.”

The high court denied an application by the MDC on Friday to lift a ban on planned anti-government protests on Saturday.

Video footage shared on various social media platforms showed police beating protesters, including elderly people.

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