Zimbabwe has threatened to crush anti-government protests after the opposition vowed to roll out street marches to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, who rejected the July 30 presidential elections, recently launched nationwide rallies to mobilise his supporters to “to reclaim his victory”.
However, Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema on Wednesday said security forces had been put on high alert to stop the protests.
“We are aware that there are some political leaders and civil organisations that are agitating for the unseating of the constitutionally elected government of Zimbabwe through demonstrations,” he told the state-controlled media.
“The government is also fully aware that some elements want to register their displeasure on the recently announced economic austerity measures and whip up public emotion to aid their selfish political expediency. “
Last month, hundreds of trade union leaders were arrested after they tried to organise protests against the austerity measures, which included a two per cent tax on electronic money transactions.
Mr Chamisa, who narrowly lost to President Mnangagwa in the controversial elections, said the protests would not stop until his rival stepped down.
But Mr Mathema said police had intensified their patrols to deal with the impending protests.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police and other security agencies have been put on high alert to ensure law and order are maintained,” he added.
“Members of the public and the business community are urged to continue with their day to day activities as police patrols have been intensified.”
Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court last month ruled that it was unconstitutional for the police to regulate public gatherings and demonstrations.
Former President Robert Mugabe and his successor Mnangagwa often used the legislation to ban protests by opposition parties and civil society groups.
Mr Mugabe was toppled in a coup in November last year, which saw the army marching on the streets of major cities with ordinary Zimbabweans and using the protests to push for the 94 year-old politician’s impeachment.
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