Zimbabwe fuel price protests lead to deaths and arrests

17 Jan 19

A number of people have been killed and hundreds have been arrested during protests in Zimbabwe after the government announced fuel price hikes.

The Zimbabwean government said it would more than double the price of fuel on Saturday in an attempt to address the ongoing petrol problems, which have seen motorists queuing for hours at petrol stations.

President Emmerson Mnangawa said in a televised speech the price rise was done to quell the increase in fuel use at a time of shortages and “rampant” illegal trading.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of the cities of Harare and Bulawayo in response to the announcement, using burning tyres to barricade roads and block bus routes.

Protesters also torched the main office of the country’s opposition party. It is unclear why the headquarters of the opposition was targeted.

The people on the streets have accused the president of not understanding their situation.

Security minister Owen Ncube confirmed that several people had died in the protests but did not give a figure.

The hike means petrol prices rose from $1.24 a litre to $3.31, with diesel up from $1.36 a litre to $3.11 overnight.

Zimbabwe is also dealing with a shortage of physical cash. Last week civil servants threatened to strike over salaries, as inflation is running high but wages have stagnated.

The government has plans to cut the fiscal deficit by more than half to 5% of GDP this year. It has also said it would cut the wage bill to 70% of the budget from the 90% it is currently.

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