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Violent Protests Erupt in Zimbabwe Over Fuel Price Hike 

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Zimbabwe soldiers are placed where police are clashing with protestors over fuel hikes in Harare, Jan. 14, 2019.

Violent protests erupted in Zimbabwe's two largest cities after the government announced a massive fuel hike.

Police fired tear gas in order to contain the protests in the capital Harare and Bulawayo Monday, while protesters threw rocks, burned tires and blocked streets.

There were media reports of riot police using live ammunition to disperse the crowds.

At least 13 people were injured by gunfire, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said.

The clashes came on the first day of a three-day strike called by unions in response to an intensifying economic crisis.

On Saturday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a 150 percent rise in fuel prices.

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, left, and CEO of of the Alrosa diamond mining company Sergey Ivanov shake hands during their meeting in Moscow, Jan. 14, 2019.
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, left, and CEO of of the Alrosa diamond mining company Sergey Ivanov shake hands during their meeting in Moscow, Jan. 14, 2019.

Mnangagwa on Monday defended the decision at the start of a five-nation tour.

"Zimbabwe is going through both political and economic reforms and these do not come easily," he told reporters in Moscow. "It will take time for things to settle and results to be shown."

He said the fuel price hike was necessary because local fuel was the cheapest in the region.

Mnangagwa, who took power after longtime leader Robert Mugabe was forced to resign in November 2017, is trying to win back foreign investors sidelined under Mugabe.

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