Police attack reporters in Harare, at least 2 injured - media watchdog

President Robert Mugabe. (File, AFP)
President Robert Mugabe. (File, AFP)

Harare - At least two reporters were injured when riot police attacked them in Harare on Tuesday during a march against a new currency, a media watchdog said.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa's (Misa) Zimbabwe chapter named the pair as Lawrence Chimunhu and Christopher Mahove. @Misazimbabwe tweeted a picture of one of the journalists with a bloody wound on his arm.

Police at Tuesday's march, which had been given the go-ahead by the courts, may have deliberately attacked reporters carrying cameras as unrest in Zimbabwe deepens, eyewitness reports suggest.

@MisaZimbabwe said in a tweet that journalist Tendai Musiya had also been assaulted and his equipment "vandalised". A photo shared on social media showed officers with blue riot helmets hitting the journalist's camera with their truncheons.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition tweeted that reporter Idah Mhetu was also attacked. It was not immediately clear if Musiya and Mhetu had been injured.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director Irene Petras tweeted: "Unacceptable use of force & attacks on media. Police must be held to account for this continued brutality, lawlessness."

Shops in central Harare were reported to have hastily closed their doors as police fired teargas at people taking part in the protests against the introduction of bond notes, and high unemployment in Zimbabwe. The march started off peacefully.

An online protest movement started by Harare pastor Evan Mawarire in April - represented by the hashtag #ThisFlag - appeared to have given frustrated Zimbabweans the courage to voice their grievances, three years after long-time President Robert Mugabe was once again voted back into power.

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