Protests against police harassment erupt in Harare

PROTESTS erupted in the Zimbabwean capital over allegations of police harassment against taxi operators, with police firing tear gas at stone-throwing demonstrators in several Harare suburbs.

Minibus operators started the protest over complaints that police routinely ask for money when they stop vehicles to check whether they are roadworthy. The demonstrations come a day before teachers at state-owned schools are scheduled to begin striking over unpaid salaries.

“The police are just a mafia,” taxi driver Israel Mathonodze said Monday in an interview. “They stop each taxi dozens of times a day to extort money because they know taxi drivers obviously have cash from fares.”

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba didn’t answer six calls seeking comment.-Bloomberg