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Zimbabwe police ban protests against new tax

 

Zimbabwe police say they will stop planned protests by the labor movement against a new tax on money transfers on Thursday because of a standing order outlawing public gatherings in the capital.

Police spokesman Paul Nyathi said the ban was primarily due to a cholera outbreak across the country.

But the opposition has accused law officers of selectively applying the ban, saying supporters of President Emmerson Mnangagwa have been allowed to hold rallies in the capital while those for the opposition have been stopped.

Analysts say with post-election disturbances in mind, the ZANU-PF government appears resolved to keep a lid on demonstrations in opposition strongholds, fearing they could spiral into violence.

Six people died in that violence which followed an army crackdown.

Although the labor movement has been weakened over the years due to high unemployment, it still maintains strong links with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose supporters would be likely to take part in the protests.

Fifty people have died and more than 10,000 have been infected in the biggest outbreak of cholera since 2008.

The police said in a statement authorities would enforce the ban on gatherings to stop the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) protests in Harare.

However, President Mnangagwa is on Wednesday expected to preside over the graduation of students at the University of Zimbabwe in the capital.

The event was initially

suspended last month over the cholera outbreak.

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