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Zimbabweans stay at home in protest against economic hardships

Jul 06 2016 17:31
MacDonald Dzirutwe

Harare - Zimbabweans stayed at home on Wednesday while foreign banks and most businesses in the capital shut down operations in one of the biggest - and peaceful - stay-away actions in nearly a decade.

The national stay-away day, fronted by social-media movement #ThisFlag, followed violent clashes between taxi drivers and police on Monday that led to the arrest of 95 people. It also coincides with a strike by doctors, teachers and nurses over delayed salaries.

The southern African nation has been gripped by a devastating drought, adding to the problems of high unemployment and an acute shortage of cash that has angered its citizens.

#ThisFlag was started in April by 39-year-old Zimbabwean pastor Evan Mawarire to protest against the government "for allowing corruption, injustice and poverty."

The campaign has attracted thousands of followers, who have been speaking out against government excesses. Tuesday's stay-away was organised via Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.

"We have got to a point now where everyone is saying enough is enough. The response has been outstanding...this is what we all needed, something that we can all do together," Mawarire said when asked about the success of the stay-away.

In the volatile township of Mufakose, to the west of Harare, hundreds of youths barricaded roads to stop people from going to work. The police arrested a dozen people.

Local units of Barclays and Standard Chartered shut their branches in central Harare while clothing retailers Edgars Stores and Truworths also closed stores.


harare  |  economy  |  unrest  |  zimbabwe economy
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