Two Zimbabwean opposition legislators and a journalist were arrested Wednesday as riot police clashed with protesters demanding jobs, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said.

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe

Demonstrators gathered in the central business district and outside parliament and demanded that President Robert Mugabe keep his promise of creating 2 million jobs. Police fought running battles with protesters throwing stones, witnesses said.

MDC legislators James Maridadi and Eric Murai, and freelance journalist Andrison Manyere were detained, party sources said. Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said the three were helping police with investigations.

MDC Youth Assembly acting spokesman Lovemore Chinoputsa told dpa that several other party activists were injured.

“We condemn the police action, as it violates our constitutional rights to hold peaceful demonstrations and violates our freedoms of association and assembly,” said Chinoputsa.

Another opposition legislator, Ronia Bunjira, was arrested last week and charged with obstructing free movement of people and vehicles during a demonstration.

Zimbabwe’s official unemployment rate stands at 11 per cent, but some economists estimate it to be as high as 80 per cent. Many university graduates have resorted to hawking after hundreds of companies closed down.

The pro-democracy organization Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CIZC) called for the Southern African Development Community to take action against the president, who assumed chairmanship of the regional bloc last week.

Mugabe, 90, has ruled the southern African country since 1980. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai served as his prime minister from 2009 to 2013, but the fragile power-sharing arrangement ended with the July 2013 elections, in which Mugabe defeated Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai accused him of rigging the polls.





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