WATCH: Zimbabwe's President Mnangagwa addresses the nation
After a series of protests and uproar about the treatment of civilians, including the jailing of some, Zimbabwe's President will address the nation.
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed the nation on Tuesday morning.
He called for unity and patriotism to work towards rebuilding the country's battered economy.
On Friday, security forces were deployed to Zimbabwe's two main cities, Harare and Bulawayo, to prevent anti-government marches called by activists over corruption and economic hardship.
In Bulawayo and central Harare, the capital, businesses were shut as police and soldiers patrolled the streets. Shops also stayed shut in some Harare townships, including Mbare - a hotbed of past protests.
Popular anger has risen over an economic crisis marked by inflation running above 700%, shortages of foreign currency and public hospitals crippled by strikes and a lack of medicine.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said main opposition spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere and novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga were among five people arrested for inciting public violence after protesting in their neighbourhood. Human rights lawyers there said more were detained.
Mnangagwa has said the protests constitute an “insurrection” by the opposition.
Meanwhile, trading resumed on the Zimbabwe stock exchange on Monday a month after it was ordered to halt business by authorities scrambling to protect the country's currency, the bourse chief said.
Scores were killed during a crackdown on the last major protests in January 2019. Opponents say Mnangagwa is exploiting a COVID-19 lockdown to stifle dissent, after he imposed an overnight curfew and restricted free movement last week.