HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwean police on Wednesday sprayed tear gas and fired water cannon at opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters protesting against what they see as the slow pace of electoral reforms ahead of next year’s presidential vote.
President Robert Mugabe, 93, intends to run for another five-year term in the 2018 polls. His opponents say the electoral commission should first create a new voters’ roll.
The MDC also wants the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to increase the number of locations where voters can register in its urban strongholds, ensure the military has no role in elections and invite Western poll observers, among other demands.
About 100 young protesters marched from MDC offices in Harare before being intercepted by the police, who fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse them.
Some youths set fire to cardboard on the streets but police quickly doused the flames with water.
A police spokeswoman could not immediately say whether arrests were made.
Mugabe’s critics say the aging leader has used state security apparatus to quash dissent against his 37-year rule and accuse him of rigging elections, charges Mugabe denies.
Under the constitution adopted in 2013, Mugabe is allowed to run for a final five-year term next year.
Reporting by Phillimon Bulawayo; writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe; editing by Andrew Roche
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