Country calm, peaceful – police
Harare (New Ziana) – Police said on Friday preliminary reports indicated the country was calm and peaceful, with opposition calls for protests having been ignored.
The opposition had called for nationwide marches on Friday, ostensibly against top-level corruption, in defiance of a government ban.
This had raised the spectre of possible clashes and violence between protestors and security forces.
But police national spokesman assistant commissioner Paul Nyathi said there were no reports of protests anywhere as of early morning on Friday, and the country was calm and peaceful.
Police and other security forces had heavily deployed in key areas to enforce the protest ban.
“So far the country is very calm and peaceful, no reports of demonstrations or violence,” Nyathi said.
He added: “We are monitoring the situation cĺosely.”
In banning the protests, the government had expressed fears the marches could endanger the lives of the public by exposing them to the raging Covid-29.
The protests themselves were a violation of Covid-19 regulations, specifically on social distancing and ban on huge gatherings.
Under the regulations, no more than 50 people are allowed to gather in one place.
The government had also cited possible violence during the protests as another reason for banning the marches.
So often in the past, similar street protests by the opposition led to bloodshed and looting and destruction of property.
The involvement in planning and financing of the protests of Western embassies whose countries are opposed to the government also raised suspicions of an ulterior motive for the marches.
The authorities have accused some diplomats of being behind the opposition protest plans in pursuit of their countries’ regime change aims in Zimbabwe.