Human rights groups in Zimbabwe say at least 12 people have been killed during several days of violent protests sparked by a sharp rise in the price of fuel.
Hospitals and clinics have reportedly treated a further 78 gunshot victims, and more than a hundred cases involving assault, torture, and dog bites – all blamed on Zimbabwe’s security forces.
The opposition says hundreds of people have been arrested and many more beaten and tortured by security forces.
A coalition of local human rights groups acknowledged there had been some looting and violence by protesters. But said it condemned, with great disdain, the random and indiscriminate response of the police and army.
Zimbabwe’s opposition has accused the government of behaving like a rogue state – and of cutting off the internet in the hope of hiding its crimes against humanity beneath a blanket of darkness. While some access appears to have been restored, many people say that social media platforms remain blocked.
This has added to a sense of deepening crisis for a country which had hoped its worst years were over.
Public anger erupted after the government, desperately short of cash, raised the price of petrol.
Many Zimbabweans, worn down by years of economic hardship, suddenly found they couldn’t even afford the bus fare to work.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is currently abroad, trying to woo foreign investors.
But news of his brutal security crackdown at home is leaking out – despite the lack of internet.
Repression was a hallmark of the governing Zanu-PF under Robert Mugabe. It doesn’t seem like much has changed since he was pushed out.