Zimbabwe police fire tear gas, gunshots to quell protests

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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe police have fired tear gas, water cannons and gunshots to stop hundreds of youths protesting against police brutality in the capital, Harare.

The situation was calm by Wednesday evening, with motorists navigating around stones and other debris in city streets and shattered shop windows were evidence of looting.

Police and protesters fought running battles downtown Wednesday. Police fired into the air after some protesters attacked a supermarket owned by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko. Several other shops were also looted.

Protesters also set on fire a vehicle belonging to state-run broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

A journalist was among those beaten by police.

The main opposition MDC-T party's youth wing organized the protest to denounce what they described as worsening police brutality against political and civil rights activists.

Police were deployed heavily outside Parliament and on the main streets in late afternoon, forcing shop owners to abandon their business.

Soldiers waiting in line for their salaries at several banks were forced to leave empty handed when the banks closed early.

Frustrations over Zimbabwe's rapidly deteriorating economy are boiling over in this southern African country, where anti-government protests have become a near-daily occurrence.

A currency crisis has resulted in long lines at banks and high unemployment is also a problem.

Opposition leaders have said they will unite for an anti-government demonstration on Friday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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