Police forces in Zimbabwe cleared people off the streets and forced shops to close ahead of national protests against corruption summoned on July 31.
Contagios de la Covid-19 en África se aproximan a los 860.000
Citizens have been urged no to participate in the demonstrations as the Republic Police said via a statement on Thursday that all security forces will be out in full force to ensure COVID-19 regulations are adhered to.
"All security arms of government are on full alert and will deal decisively with any individuals or groups fomenting violence and sending threats or provocative messages through the social media or any other means," said the police.
However, the opposition parties are convening people to demonstrate peacefully against a wave of corruption and economic downfall since the current President Emmerson Mnangagwa established his government in 2017.
Although the president said it would consider the demonstrations an "insurrection", the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is organizing the protests as inflation in the country has risen over 70 percent and the unemployment rate is estimated to be at 90 percent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, since 2019 the economic situation in the country has worsened to unprecedented levels. Last year the United Nations published that the annual food inflation in the country reached more than 250 percent. At the same time, the United Nation's World Food Programm qualified the shortage of food as the "worst-ever hunger crisis" the country has faced.
Also, social media users turned to Twitter to denounce police brutality against citizens using the hashtag JULY31 and publishing videos that show the police beating people and forcing them out of their cars.
In the wake of the protests, the United Nations Spokesperson and media officer at the Human Rights Office, Liz Throssell, said that the organization was concern that the government might be using the COVID-19 pandemic to suppress the right to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.