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Price Riots Spread in Mozambique


Protests against rising food and fuel prices have spread to central Mozambique, as isolated riots continue for a third day near the capital.

Demonstrators in the town of Chimoio used stones, clubs, and tires Friday to prevent markets and shops from opening. The Lusa news agency reports that six people were injured when police opened fire on protesters.

In the capital, Maputo, the situation was calmer Friday. Reports there say shops are open, buses are running, and that a heavy police and military presence is maintaining order.

But on the outskirts of the city some protests continued, and journalists tell VOA that text messages are calling for more demonstrations on Monday.

The government says seven people were killed and another 288 wounded in rioting and clashes between police and protesters Wednesday and Thursday.

Mozambican officials estimate damages at about $3.3 million.

State agencies increased prices for a range of basic goods earlier this week. Officials said Thursday that the price hikes are "irreversible."

Any increase makes life harder for the average Mozambican. The United Nations development agency ranks the African country as one of the poorest in the world.

Witnesses and reporters say police used live ammunition against stone-throwing demonstrators on Wednesday. Amnesty International has called on police to use only non-lethal methods to control protests in the future.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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