WATCH | Violent clashes erupt between police and opposition supporters in Zimbabwe

21 November 2019 - 09:45

Zimbabwean police on Wednesday used batons, teargas and water cannons to disperse Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC) supporters.

They had gathered outside its building in Harare for a speech by leader Nelson Chamisa.

But their singing was soon stifled, as police moved in, using batons to disperse supporters.

Hundreds of police blocked roads leading to the party's headquarters.

Footage captured by Reuters showed security personnel charging the crowd, hitting men and women.

Police declined to comment.

Political tension is rising in Zimbabwe, where the population is grappling with a severe economic crisis.

It has seen rolling power cuts lasting up to 18 hours a day and shortages of foreign currency, fuel and medicines.

This latest police action comes as the opposition accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa of adopting heavy-handed tactics, like his predecessor, the late Robert Mugabe.

The president has defended himself, saying his administration is opening up political and media space.

However, just this year, police banned several opposition gatherings, saying they feared the events would turn violent.

Critics of President Mnangagwa say he has failed to keep promises on economic reforms, attracting foreign investment and rebuilding collapsing infrastructure.