Police in Zimbabwe on Monday lobbed tear gas in the suburbs of the capital Harare in an attempt to disperse angry demonstrators who burned tires and threw stones to protest fuel price hikes.
The protests took place despite the falling rain, just two days after a 140% fuel price hike was announced by President Emmerson Mnagangwa.
Labour Unions in Zimbabwe protested the move saying the hike would make it impossible for workers to work and feed their families.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Harare and Bulawayo to protest the hike in the cost of living.
Anti-riot police who were designated to man several ‘hot spots’ within the capital early on Monday dispersed the crowds using tear gas – the ensuing chaos forcing a number of businesses to close shop before midday.
Public transport was also disrupted, forcing many to walk long distances back home.
The Zimbabwe Government has said the increase in the price of fuel was beyond its control and also urged workers to accept the 10 percent wage increase they rejected last week.
Mnangagwa’s announcement was greeted with shock in Zimbabwe where unemployment is over 80 percent.
Cash shortages have plunged Zimbabwe’s economy into disarray, threatening widespread social unrest and undermining efforts to win back foreign investors sidelined under his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
The Deputy Minister of Information, Energy Mutodi, told CGTN on Monday that while Zimbabweans have a right to air their grievances they should do so within the confines of the law and desist from engaging in violence.
Labour unions have been encouraging their members to stay away from work to also press for payment of their salaries in US dollars, something President Mnangagwa’s government says it can’t do.
Earlier, President Mnagangwa left for a five-nation tour which starts in Russia and ends at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The trip is aimed at wooing foreign investors at a time when the country still faces economic sanctions.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the country’s biggest labour federation, has called for a three-day strike this week.