Protests in Zimbabwe – level 3
Police in Zimbabwe fired tear gas and water cannons at opposition supporters in the capital today as a demonstration against President Robert Mugabe descended into violence. In some of the country’s worst unrest since food riots in 1998, protesters clashed with riot police, hurling rocks and setting tires ablaze. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was forced to flee the rally by car.
“We are not accountable for the actions that are happening all over. We had a specific route. We had applied for a specific assembly point, and that’s what we are accountable. Anything that happens outside the route and what we have applied for is something that had nothing to do; we are not accountable for that.”
Despite the violence at today’s event, anti-Mugabe supporters have vowed to hold more protests spurred on by rising public anger over an economic meltdown.
“Mr. Mugabe, it’s time you wake up! It’s time you respected our people! You have no authority to abuse our money!”
Protesters are calling for electoral reform ahead of the next election. Ninety-two-year-old Mugabe has said he intends to run again in 2018.
Difficult words: descend into (change to), riot (a violent protest), clash (fight), hurl (throw), ablaze (on fire), flee (leave), rally (a political meeting of people), accountable (responsible), assembly (a group of people with one plan in one place), vow (promise), spur on (start), meltdown (collapse), abuse (use for a bad purpose).
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