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Zimbabwe Grinds to Standstill

Schoolchildren run past a burning barricade, following a job boycott called via social media platforms, in Harare, Wednesday, July,6, 2016. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Police clashed with some residents and school children in Harare’s south-western suburbs.

The situation was tense in Mufakose high density suburb where scores of residents and journalists were arrested and taken to Marimba Police Station.

Some journalists from local and international media houses covering the strike were arrested and released after deleting photographs from their cameras and cellphones as directed by the police.

As early as 5am residents started blocking roads with stones, logs and anything they could lay their hands on and burnt tyres, preventing kombis and private vehicles from going to the city center.

They residents led by members of Tajamuka-Sesijikile protest group, sang revolutionary songs demanding to be addressed by President Robert Mugabe, who they blamed for their suffering and the country’s economic problems.

After several hours of protests, police descended on the suburb and arrested scores of residents.

Police also raided homes and arrested many people including some as young as 16 years old.

Hardlife Mudzingw, a representative of Tajamuka, said the protest was successful as most people did not go to work.

Most shops, markets stalls and tuckshops were closed. Police ordered open shops to shut down saying they risked being attacked by protesters.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition acting board chairman, George Makoni, who witnessed the skirmishes, said the demonstration was a clear message to the government that it has failed.

He said its time President Mugabe’s government to respond to the people’s needs.

Makoni said most interesting about today’s protests was that they involved schoolchildren, who were not in class as their teachers are on strike.

On Tuesday night police assaulted residents in areas like Glen View and Glen Norah in a bid to preempt Wednesday’s national shut down.

Tajamuka representatives said they were also being threatened by anonymous callers. They said the callers are threatening to deal with them for organizing the mass stay away.