Soldiers patrol Zimbabwe streets after deadly protests over economy

A soldier stands before a burning barricade during protests in Harare, Zimbabwe.

A soldier stands before a burning barricade during protests in Harare, Zimbabwe.


HARARE - Soldiers patrolled Zimbabwe city streets on Tuesday and confrontations with demonstrators threatened to boil over, as the government offered public workers more money a day after protests over the country's collapsing economy turned deadly.

Monday's unrest, during which several people died, followed sharp fuel price hikes decreed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Impatient Zimbabweans accuse him of failing to live up to pre-election promises to kick-start growth, having seen their purchasing power eroded by rampant inflation.

As more protests threatened to break out, Labour Minister Sekai Nzenza said public workers would be granted a monthly supplement of between 5 and 23 percent of their salaries from January to March while wage negotiations with unions continued.

READ: Zimbabwe telecoms 'jammed' after violent protests: report

Mnangagwa, absent on an official visit in Moscow, has also promised a clean break from the oppressive regime of long-term leader Robert Mugabe, who he forced out in a de facto coup in November 2017.

The president said Zimbabwe might need Russia's help in modernising its army and was interested in receiving Russian loans, RIA news agency reported.

In Harare and Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo, banks, schools, businesses and the sock market remained shut on Tuesday as many residents stayed at home.

But witnesses said security forces were deploying to stave off further demonstrations, and many people in the capital said they could no longer access the Internet.