Local police sources said they were charged with disorderly conduct and were likely to appear in court Thursday.
Some of the messages on the placards read: ‘Zimbabwe Unite’, ‘Viva Zimbabwe’, ‘Enough is Enough’, ‘No to imports control’, ‘Stop greed’.
Heavily armed anti-riot cops swooped on the demonstrators and took them away to the local police station as scores people, including tourists, watched near Shearwater Café.
Meanwhile, people in the resort town heeded the national stay away call as most businesses were closed in the morning, save for big shops and banks.
Public transport operators parked their buses at Chinotimba Long Distance Bus Terminus, commuters stranded.
Schools also were shut across the town and in surrounding rural areas.
ZRP blames ‘Third Force’
National police spokesperson Charity Charamba confirmed the Victoria Falls arrest while addressing journalists in Harare.
She claimed that some of the protestors were Australian.
“In Matabeleland North province 15 male white adults and two black male adults were arrested for carrying placards written ‘enough is enough’ that is in Victoria Falls and I am sure you can see a Third Force behind.
“Some of them are actually from Australia but they came to demonstrate in Zimbabwe,” Charamba told a press conference at the Police General Headquarters.
In the capital, property worth thousands of dollars went up flames after a building burnt down by suspected protesters.
The building, located at 8 Luck Street in the periphery of the city centre, was engulfed by the blaze with the Harare city council’s Fire Brigade team failing to extinguish put down the flames.
The Fire Brigade arrived at the scene promptly but without water.
“I am strongly suspecting that someone started it (the fire), and given that today people are on a stay away, something linked to the protests could have happened,” said a witness who uses an adjacent building.
However other witnesses believed that the fire was ignited by an electrical fault.
“The whole area had not electricity yesterday (Tuesday) and we closed business in darkness,” said another lady who uses the opposite offices.
“People have a tendency of not switching off their electricity and, maybe, that is what happened to this building,” said a vendor who sells fruits at the gate of the affected premises.
“I did not see anyone here. I came as early as 7am and there was none one around; and for us to believe that this is an act of protest I think that will be an exaggeration,” he said.
Charamba said there were few disturbances with incidences of roads blocked using stones and burning tyres around the country.
“In Harare the problems areas were Budiriro 5, Mufakose Warren Park D and in these areas the police moved in to remove the illegal barricades that were set up by the hooligans,” she said.
“The police arrested 19 people in Harare, that is, six from Budiriro and 13 from Mufakose.
“And amongst those arrested in Harare was Linda Masarira of the Occupy Unity Square who was throwing stones and burning stalls of innocent vendors.
“And investigations are still going on to arrest all the perpetrators of violence.”
She added: “Let me warm them again that the police will be in full force and they are on standby.-NewZim