Zimbabweans are revolting against an ineffective government by shutting down the country.
Civilians are collectively shutting down the country for the duration of today, while calling for justice on the hashtag #ShutDownZim.
Political activists, backed by the #ThisFlag social movement, called for people ‘to shut down the country’ in protest against the government, ‘for allowing corruption, injustice and poverty’.
People have since been calling out the government on Twitter, using the hashtags #ThisFlag and #ShutDownZim.
This demonstration follows mass protests on Monday, which descended into violence when security forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators in the capital Harare.
Footage also emerged of police beating protesters with sticks.
‘The deplorable use of force by the police against protesters amounts to human rights violations,’ Amnesty International’s Muleya Mwananyanda said.
‘Police must stop using force to suppress dissenting voices.’
The temptation is to compare this movement to the Arab Spring, but activists in the country have denied the similarities.
Chief K. Masimba, a publisher in Harare who tweeted that ‘Zimbabwe is the new Egypt’, later told Metro.co.uk that the two movements are ‘not really’ the same.
‘I just meant the government is clamping down the internet, as was the case in Egypt,’ he said.
WhatsApp has gone down in the country, sparking speculation that it was purposefully blocked by the authorities in order to prevent people from organising protests.
And government workers held strikes across Zimbabwe on Tuesday, after president Robert Mugabe’s government delayed pay for civil servants.
Doctors, nurses and teachers have not been paid for a month. The government insists they will receive their wages by the middle of July, but many are deeply sceptical.
Zimbabwe’s treasury funds have been running short after years of economic decline and a severe agricultural drought.
Amid this economic chaos, #ThisFlag activists have long been documenting claims of corruption and overspending among government officials online.
Mugabe, the country’s 92-year-old president who has been in office since 1987, ordered citizens to ‘go about their normal business’ and ignore the shut down.
However, this attempt at quelling the protest does not appear to have worked. Photos have emerged of closed businesses and quiet streets across the country.
Mr Masimba told Metro.co.uk that the Zimbabwean movement has been a long time coming.
‘It’s very quiet today,’ he said. ‘The Zimbabweans have spoken.’-Metro