In harsh crackdown, Zimbabwe police arrest scores as protests grow

Zimbabwe police armed with AK47 rifles arrested a prominent activist and pastor clutching a Bible on Wednesday, along with scores of others, in a harsh crackdown over protests against the dramatic fuel price hikes in the economically shattered country.

As some hungry Harare residents reported being tear-gassed by police when they ventured out for bread, President Emmerson Mnangagwa denounced what he called “wanton violence and cynical destruction.” He noted a right to protest and said he understands the “pain and frustration,” but he appeared to side with authorities who blame the opposition for unrest.

Pastor Evan Mawarire was holding a Bible when police bundled him into their car in the capital. He had organized what became nationwide anti-government protests in 2016 against mismanagement and then-President Robert Mugabe’s long grip on power.