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Dozens arrested in Zimbabwe during crackdown on anti-government protests

DOZENS of people were arrested in Zimbabwe today as hundreds of soldiers and police cracked down on an anti-government protest. 

The streets of the capital Harare were empty as people hid indoors. 

Demonstrators had intended to target the ruling Zanu-PF party amid rising tensions as the economy implodes and the badly underfunded health system struggles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Some protesters attempted to hold low-key rallies but were arrested by the police, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. 

Those detained included author Tsitsi Dangaremba and Fadzayi Mahere, spokeswoman for the opposition MDC Alliance party.

The charges against them have not yet been made clear. 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who previously had described the planned protest as an insurrection against the government, called for unity and the avoidance of violence while speaking at a funeral yesterday.

Soldiers and police patrolled and manned checkpoints in Harare. On Thursday, security forces had driven people out of the city and forced businesses to close. 

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