'A brutal crackdown in Zimbabwe that has followed protests against fuel price rises is “just a foretaste of things to come”, the president’s spokesman has said.
The harsh words will increase concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in the poor southern African country, coming after a week in which police and soldiers have beaten civilians, shot 12 people dead and detained at least 600 people, many without charge.
“[The] government will not stand by while such narrow interests play out so violently,” President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba told the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper.
The repression followed a national strike called by unions after the government ordered a massive fuel price hike eight days ago.
The price rise, of about 250%, is the latest blow to millions of citizens who are increasingly unable to buy basics such as fuel, food and medicines.
Inflation is running at 40% – its highest rate since hyperinflation forced Zimbabwe to abandon its currency 10 years ago in favour of dollars, electronic cash and “bond notes” issued by the central bank.
The violence is the worst seen in Zimbabwe for a decade, prompting many to make comparisons with the worst days of the 37-year rule of the autocratic former president Robert Mugabe.'
Read more: Zimbabwe warns brutal crackdown is 'foretaste of things to come'
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