Zimbabwean police said they had arrested 30 people involved in inciting violent protests between police and commuter omnibus drivers in the capital Harare’s eastern suburbs on Monday.
Drivers of commuter omnibus, the most common transportation in the country, abandoned their routes protesting against what they perceived as increased police harassment on the roads.
This led to violent clashes between the two sides, with some reports saying police had to spray spicy water to disperse the protesters in the impoverished suburb of Epworth on the outskirts of Harare.
The clashes left hundreds of city-bound residents stranded, forcing some to walk distances of more than 10 km into town.
Following the protests, police on Monday issued a stern warning against people engaging in public violence, saying police had been heavily deployed to quell any disturbances.
“Lawlessness of any nature whatsoever and those who are bent on causing mayhem by taking the law into their own hands will not be condoned,” national police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told a press conference.
She said some unruly elements were arrested Monday morning in the eastern suburbs of Ruwa and Mabvuku following the clashes.
Meanwhile, public transporters in the second largest city of Bulawayo also issued a statement, saying they would park their vehicles starting at 1500 hours on Monday to protest against “police brutality on the roads”.
“No service will resume until all illegal roadblocks in Bulawayo are dismantled,” the public transporters association said in a statement.
There has been a public outcry in recent weeks against the heavy presence of police on the roads, forcing the police to announce that it would reduce them.