An anti-government protester throws back a tear gas canister as demonstrators clash with police during a march against police brutality on August 24, 2016 in Harare, Zimbabwe. ©AFP
Police in Zimbabwe have resorted to tear gas and water cannons to disperse a group of opposition activists protesting against police brutality in the South African country.
Around 200 supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, took to the streets of the capital, Harare, on Wednesday.
However, the peaceful demonstration turned violent when riot police intervened, firing warning shots and clashing with the protesters.
Some of the protesters raided a supermarket owned by the country’s vice president and torched a car belonging to the national Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
“Violence broke out when people retaliated to police beatings by throwing stones at riot police,” said an eyewitness. “I saw police beating protesters and firing teargas and water cannons.”
Police in Zimbabwe usually use force to break up demonstrations, beating up people and reporters covering protests.
Zimbabwean riot police chase protesters in the capital Harare, on August 24, 2016. ©AFP
At least one journalist sustained injures in police beatings on Wednesday.
Back in July, multiple anti-government protests and strikes against the economic crisis in Zimbabwe nearly brought normal life to a halt.
Also in April, thousands of MDC supporters attended a demonstration in Harare, calling for the resignation of President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe recently vowed to fight back and crack down on the protest leaders.
“We know how to deal with our enemies who have been trying to bring about regime change,” he said in a speech last week.
The opposition says the 92-year-old president has failed to properly address issues such as economic decline, mass unemployment and emigration in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe, who regularly appears in public, has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980. He has announced he will run for presidency again in 2018.