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Zimbabwe arrests protest organizers as economy plunges

Zimbabwean Riot Police patrol the streets of the capital in Harare, Thursday, Oct, 11, 2018. Lawyers say police in Zimbabwe have arrested dozens of trade union members ahead of a planned protest in the capital over the worst economic crisis in a decade. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Lawyers say police in Zimbabwe arrested dozens of trade union members ahead of a planned protest in the capital Thursday over the worst economic crisis in a decade.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said police arrested Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions members in Harare and the cities of Mutare and Masvingo.

There was a heavy police presence in Harare after the government banned the protest, citing an ongoing cholera outbreak. The lawyers’ group said a magistrate dismissed a challenge of the ban.

Zimbabwe now has gas lines snaking for hours, prices spiking and some food and medicines running out. The government calls the problems temporary and a necessary pain in rebuilding the southern African country.

The lawyers called the arrests a pre-emptive strike on the protest against “disastrous economic policies.”

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