Protests erupt in Zimbabwe against 150% fuel price hike

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HARARE, Jan 15 (NNN-AGENCIES) — People took to the streets in Zimbabwe after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a 150 percent fuel price hike in a country where unemployment is 80 percent. 

Protesters barricaded roads and burned tires in a suburb of capital Harare Monday, two days after Mnangagwa announced a massive fuel price hike in an effort to stem a deepening economic crisis.

Cash shortages have plunged Zimbabwe’s economy into disarray, threatening widespread social unrest and undermining Mnangagwa’s efforts to win back foreign investors sidelined under his predecessor Robert Mugabe.

Police fired teargas to disperse youths protesting outside the high court in Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo, according to video footage from the Centre for Innovation and Technology, a local news service. Riot police in trucks patrolled downtown Harare while some shops remained closed.

Mnangagwa’s announcement of a 150 percent increase in fuel prices was greeted with shock in Zimbabwe where unemployment is over 80 percent. The price was increased from US$1.34 for a liter of petrol to US$3.31 with diesel surging to US$3.11 per liter. 

The government sets fuel prices via the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Agency.

Residents of Epworth, 36 km south of the capital, protested after the main labor federation called for a three-day strike starting Monday in response to the price increase.

The protests came just after doctors ended a 40-day strike in the country without coming to any terms.

The Zimbabwean government issued a statement in response to the protests labeling them Western-sponsored acts.

“This brazenly unconstitutional plan which has sought financial support from some regime-change organisations based in America and Germany, among other countries, represents a serious threat to our consolidating democracy, to the rule of law in our country, and to the authority of government and the state,” the statement said. — NNN-AGENCIES