Deadly Riots Rock Zimbabwe’s Capital As Vote Results Are Deemed Suspicious!

Soldiers and police fired live rounds, water cannons and tear gas at furious protesters who threw rocks and burned vehicles Wednesday in Zimbabwe’s capital, dashing the optimism of an election that the country hoped would set it on a new course after decades of Robert Mugabe’s rule. At least three people were reported killed.

Violence swept through central Harare after an official announcement that the ruling ZANU-PF party had won most of the seats in Parliament, an outcome that enraged opposition supporters who believe they have been cheated of victory.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s decision to delay announcing the results of the presidential race at least until Thursday — three days after the vote — seemed certain to bring more opposition anger if President Emmerson Mnangagwa is declared the winner. Alternatively, many Zimbabweans wonder whether the ruling establishment, including the military, would accept a win for the main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa.
Deadly Riots Rock Zimbabwe’s Capital As Vote Results Are Deemed Suspicious!
Monday’s upbeat spectacle of millions of Zimbabweans voting peacefully was eclipsed 48 hours later by scenes of tanks and other military vehicles speeding through debris-strewn streets and soldiers beating protesters who had blocked main roads and set bonfires. Some journalists also were attacked.

Gunfire was heard downtown throughout the afternoon, including near the ruling party headquarters where protesters had gathered. Police fired tear gas and grabbed more canisters from an officer carrying them in a crate.

Three people were killed, state broadcaster ZBC said. Associated Press journalists saw two bodies and another person who had been shot in the leg. There were pools and trails of blood on the streets.
The riots surged up to the fence of the Rainbow Towers Hotel and Conference Centre, where the electoral commission has been announcing results and many international election observers are staying. Inside the main gate, a water cannon mounted on a police vehicle blasted protesters who hurled rocks that bounced off its armored plating.

“They are trying to protest so they can get fair results,” said Elisha Pfigu, a 31-year-old street vendor who warily watched soldiers at an intersection.

Pfigu said he was optimistic on election day for the country’s first vote without Mugabe, who ruled for nearly four decades, on the ballot.

“Now it’s different. It’s totally different” he said. “People were happy on Monday. Now they are not happy. We are not going to rest.”

Authorities invoked Zimbabwe’s Public Order and Security Act, which allows police to ban public meetings or gatherings. The police can also ask the military for help in cases of public disturbances. Under Mugabe, the law was used routinely to ban anti-government meetings and demonstrations since its enactment in 2002.
Deadly Riots Rock Zimbabwe’s Capital As Vote Results Are Deemed Suspicious!
Deadly Riots Rock Zimbabwe’s Capital As Vote Results Are Deemed Suspicious!

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