HARARE – Zimbabwean police arrested on Monday one of the leaders of the trade union federation who called for a strike to protest a fuel price hike that prompted massive protests in the African country, according to a human rights group.
The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Japhet Moyo, was apprehended at Harare’s main airport, Robert Gabriel Mugabe International.
Police “advised him (Moyo) that they would be charging him with subverting a constitutionally-elected government,” Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights said in a statement on its website.
Nearly 700 people were arrested over the last week in the wake of the rallies that ended up in clashes between protesters and security forces as well as a wave of looting in Zimbabwe’s two main cities of Harare and Bulawayo.
Five members of parliament belonging to the Movement for Democratic Change, the opposition party that was defeated in the most recent general elections, were among those arrested.
At least 12 people were killed during clashes with the security forces, while hundreds were wounded since the strike started last week.
Zimbabwe’s government increased the price of gasoline to from $1.38 to $3.31 per liter and hiked diesel from $1.45 to $3.11, which could be paid in promissory notes issued by the authorities due to the shortage of United States dollars, which are commonly used in the country.