Zimbabwe: Fuel hike sparks protests

Fuel protest in Harare.

Protesters barricaded roads and burned tires in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, on January 14 after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a huge fuel price hike in a bid to stem a deepening economic crisis.

Cash shortages have plunged Zimbabwe’s economy into disarray, threatening widespread social unrest and undermining Mnangagwa’s efforts to win back foreign investors sidelined under his predecessor Robert Mugabe.

Police fired tear gas to disperse youths protesting outside the high court in Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo, according to video footage from the Centre for Innovation and Technology, a local news service. Riot police in trucks patrolled downtown Harare while some shops remained closed.

Mnangagwa’s announcement of a 150% rise in fuel prices was greeted with shock in Zimbabwe, where unemployment is more than 80%.

The fuel protests came just after doctors ended a 40-day strike in the country without coming to any terms.

The Zimbabwean government issued a statement in response to the protests, labelling them “Western-sponsored acts”.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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