Few demonstrators turn up for Zimbabwe protest in Bulawayo

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BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (AP) – Few people have turned up for an opposition protest in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, on Monday as armed police maintained heavy presence on the streets and at a courthouse where the opposition is pressing to be allowed to hold the demonstration.

Business in Bulawayo’s usually bustling downtown was subdued with the most traffic from police trucks, water cannons and dozens of police officers patrolling on foot.

The opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, had called the protest as part of a planned series of demonstrations to push President Emmerson Mnangagwa to agree to a transitional government amid a rapidly deteriorating economy and rising political tensions.

But the police banned the protest in the southern city, citing security concerns. A Bulawayo magistrate is hearing the opposition party’s challenge to the ban.

The protest was planned as a follow up to demonstrations held in the capital, Harare, on Friday when several hundred demonstrators marched in defiance of a police ban that was upheld by the High Court. Police used tear gas and beatings with batons to quell the Harare protest.

Police man a roadblock in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. Few people turned up for an opposition protest Monday in the Zimbabwe’s second city as armed police maintained a heavy presence on the streets. (AP Photo/Mpofu)
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