Wed, 20 Feb 2019
27
Cape Town

Zimbabwe police manned checkpoints on many main roads on Saturday, searching vehicles for protesters involved in recent anti-government demonstrations.

The crackdown by security forces has been fiercely criticised by the UN human rights office, with allegations of shootings, beatings and abductions of opposition figures, activists and ordinary residents.

Police road blocks were a notorious feature of daily life under former president Robert Mugabe.

But they largely disappeared after he was ousted by the military in November 2017 and his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa took power.

"We want to tell members of the public that... we have already set up security checkpoints where police officers and other security institutions will be checking," police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told Saturday's state-owned Herald newspaper.

The aim, she added, is to catch suspected looters and recover property stolen during protests that erupted after Mnangagwa last weekend announced a 150-percent increase in petrol prices.

The Herald said 700 people had been arrested since the violent protests, which it blamed on the opposition MDC party and trade unions.

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