Zimbabwe shuts down Internet access amid growing unrest

Zimbabwean soldiers mount positions at entry points into the city of Bulawayo

Zimbabwean soldiers mount positions at entry points into the city of Bulawayo

Zimbabwe's internet connectivity was partially restored on Friday after state security minister Owen Ncube ordered a total shutdown on Wednesday night again.

A Zimbabwean man speaks on his phone outside a branch of mobile service provider Econet Wireless in central Harare.

A Zimbabwean human rights groups say at least 12 people were killed, at least 78 shot in a crackdown on protests that began on Monday over a dramatic rise in fuel prices.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights has said it had treated 68 cases of gunshot wounds and 100-plus other cases of "assaults with sharp objects, booted feet, baton sticks".

So far, the government reports that three people have died during confrontations with the police. Photographs show a protester with a broken leg, another with a split lip, and others of protesters being arrested.

CNN reported that Zimbabwe is now the most expensive country in the world to fill a auto.

"While we condemn the violent behaviour of some protestors, and unlawful acts such as arson and looting, we are deeply concerned that Zimbabwe's security forces have acted disproportionately in response", she said in a statement.

Zimbabwe recently made a decision to ban Internet access to its citizens and this was confirmed by the owner of the largest telecommunications company in the country.

And it called on Zimbabwe's government "to find ways of engaging with the population about their legitimate grievances". "We don't know what is criminal about that. So everyone who is saying that is subject to arrest".

Mugabe, now 94, ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years from independence from Britain until he was ousted in November 2017. Initially, Mnangagwa was seen as a more liberal leader. "On election day, last month, many of them said that for the first time, they felt free to walk into a polling place and vote their heart".

eNCA reporter Pindai Dube has more on the story.

The U.S. Embassy in Harare urged all sides to show restraint.

In news that will be met with dismay by most Zimbabweans and foreigners alike, the urgent application challenging the government's unconstitutional order to shut down the internet has been scheduled for Monday the 21st of January.

The partial lifting of the internet closure should ease the economic impact of a web shutdown. The government has already blocked the internet on two separate occasions this week alone.

Pastor Mawarire was also accused of attempting to coerce the government by giving it demands that the work boycott or civil disobedience would only end if government attends to their demands which included addressing economic challenges, paying workers' salaries in United States dollars and removing bond notes.

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