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Zimbabwe Police Deny Using Live Ammunition Against Protesters

FILE - A caretaker of a building attempts to rub off anti-government graffiti in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sept. 6, 2016. Protests have rocked Zimbabwe since July, calling on President Robert Mugabe to fix the economy and respect human rights.

Zimbabwean police dismissed reports that they used live ammunition in downtown Harare to disperse an anti-government protest Saturday.

A coalition of opposition parties said police used live bullets in dispersing the demonstrators, resulting in injuries.

Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for the opposition coalition, said that "in Kuwadzana, Dzivaresekwa, Mufakose, Epworth and Kambuzuma, live ammunition was fired from a truck which was being used by police and militia."

He said two people were injured as a direct result of the shootings, and "we have more than 20 people receiving treatment. Over a 100 people have been arrested throughout the country. Some of these people include [opposition] members of Parliament."

The nonprofit group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights confirmed in a tweet that dozens of protesters had been arrested.

In a telephone interview Saturday, Zimbabwe police spokesman Paul Nyathi denied that his organization had used live ammunition to disperse protesters.

"That is a false statement. ... There are no live bullets which have been used by the police, and whoever is making such allegations should come forward and prove the allegations," he said.

Zimbabwe has been rocked by an unprecedented wave of protests since July calling on President Robert Mugabe to fix the economy and respect human rights.

Mwonzora said protests would continue until Mugabe addressed the economic and rights issues or stepped down. Mugabe has been in power for 36 years.