Zimbabwe police block opposition-led protest in Gweru

The protesters are angry over the country's worsening economic conditions

Police ban another protest over economic woes in Zimbabwe

The EU and USA imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 when Robert Mugabe was president. Few people turned up for an opposition protest Monday in the Zimbabwe's second city as armed police maintained a heavy presence on the streets.

Opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had planned to call for protests across the country beginning last Friday in Harare.

"There is a determined effort by the regime to ensure that there is no more democratic space", MDC national spokesman Daniel Molokele said.

In both cases, the police cited security concerns.

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Opposition supporters and bystanders were beaten by riot police last Friday when they tried to defy a ban on a protest march in Harare. Police, however, banned the marches saying they will turn violent. "It clearly shows that the new government is even worse than that of Robert Mugabe".

"They are also deploying a lot of military and police in the streets..."

Similar demonstrations are still planned for Mutare and Masvingo, but the MDC is now resigned to having those banned too by the police who said in one of their notices that "ordinary citizens in the country are experiencing hardships so any call for the demonstrations might be taken advantage of by the already agitated citizens and violence may erupt".

Those deaths set a question mark against the 76-year-old president's pledge to end the Mugabe-era repression - which the bans of recent days have further undermined.

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Violence recently rocked illegal demonstrations in Harare after the opposition MDC refused to adhere to a police and court ruling which barred mass action in the capital.

".This is contrary to the precepts of a "new administration" that President Mnangagwa and his team want to sell to the world".

But Zimbabweans say things have gone from bad to worse with shortages of bread, fuel, medical drugs and other goods and the skyrocketing cost of living.

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