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Zimbabwean Police Clash With Anti-government Protesters


Zimbabwean riot police clash with protestors during a demonstration against the introduction of bond notes by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, in Harare, Aug. 17, 2016.

Zimbabwean riot police clash with protestors during a demonstration against the introduction of bond notes by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, in Harare, Aug. 17, 2016.

Riot police in Zimbabwe have violently dispersed demonstrators who marched to the country's central bank to protest the proposed introduction of bond notes to ease a persistent cash shortage. This is the latest in a string of anti-government protests as the country's economic crisis worsens.

Those are protesters, mainly young people, who marched Wednesday toward the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

They sang, "We are tired." That was before anti-riot police started firing tear gas in an effort to disperse them. Those who tried to resist were assaulted and injured.

One of those who survived the assaults, Tendai Mudehwe, says she will continue taking part in protests.

Water cannons and riot police patrol in streets of Harare looking for possible pockets of resistance after protestors were violently dispersed by Zimbabwean police, Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 17, 2016. (S. Mhofu/VOA)

Water cannons and riot police patrol in streets of Harare looking for possible pockets of resistance after protestors were violently dispersed by Zimbabwean police, Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 17, 2016. (S. Mhofu/VOA)

“Zimbabweans are tired. Zimbabweans are peace loving people, but this regime, the government of Zimbabwe, has given Zimbabweans no other option of expressing themselves except protesting," said Mudehwe . "Life is now difficult in Zimbabwe. And Zimbabweans are finding their voice to say enough is enough... The government does not care for its citizens and the citizens have had enough and the only thing they can do is to protest. And I can assure you that the protests are going to increase as the year goes by.”

Zimbabwe is in the midst of an unprecedented wave of opposition to President Robert Mugabe, who has held power since 1980, when the country gained its independence from Britain.

One of the protestors Martin Jemwa sustained a head cut after he was assaulted by police using a baton stick. He was taken to a private hospital where his condition was said to be stable, Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 17, 2016. (S. Mhofu/VOA)

One of the protestors Martin Jemwa sustained a head cut after he was assaulted by police using a baton stick. He was taken to a private hospital where his condition was said to be stable, Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 17, 2016. (S. Mhofu/VOA)

The latest demonstration was organized by the #thisflag movement, ceremonially led by Pastor Evan Mawarire, who fled to neighboring South Africa last month after he was acquitted of charges of trying to topple the Mugabe government. He has since settled in the United States.

Pastor Evan Mawarire leaves the Harare Magistrates Court, Zimbabwe, July 13, 2016, after the court freed him ruling that police violated his rights.

Pastor Evan Mawarire leaves the Harare Magistrates Court, Zimbabwe, July 13, 2016, after the court freed him ruling that police violated his rights.

The protesters oppose the introduction of bond notes - equivalent to the U.S. dollar - that are set to go into circulation in October. Some worry the bond notes are a back door attempt to reintroduce a Zimbabwean currency. Zimbabwe uses only foreign currency, like dollars, euros and the South African rand. Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009 amid unprecedented hyperinflation.

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