Zimbabwe begins 3 days of general strike against rising fuel prices

Zimbabwe begins 3 days of general strike against rising fuel prices

Zimbabwe began today three days of general strike to protest against the rise in the price of fuel, which has increased twice, with a day where there were already clashes between the police and the strikers.

The strike was called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in response to the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, worsened in recent months, and by the decision of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to double the price of fuel to end the queues at the gas stations.

In the neighborhoods of Epworth, Chitungwiza and Tafara, in the capital, Harare, protesters blocked roads with stones and police fired tear gas to disperse them, according to the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP).

In the country's second largest city, Bulawayo, protesters overturned a police car in the Pumula East suburb, and took to the streets downtown, according to witnesses quoted by local media.

In addition, in this city a man who recorded the protests was attacked, and in several public schools students were sent back home.

This Saturday, the Government of Mnangagwa raised the price of a liter of gasoline from $ 1.38 to $ 3.31, and that of a liter of diesel of around $ 1.45 to $ 3.11, which can be paid in promissory notes that the Government issues due to the shortage of United States dollars -the currency used in the country- and that can be exchanged for that currency.

Economists argue that this increase makes sense, although it could cause commodity prices to increase even more.

However, the country's main trades unions claimed that this government decision is going to be a hard blow for workers and the average Zimbabwean.

"We are earning low wages – of an average of 300 dollars a month – and now with the increase in the price of fuel and basic products, everything is going to pay for transportation," explained the general secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions of Zimbabwe ( ZCTU), Peter Mutasa, in a video posted on social networks.

While the strike starts in Zimbabwe, President Mnangagwa today began a European tour that will take him, among other countries, to Russia and Switzerland, where he plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos.

This strike adds to the protests carried out in recent weeks by doctors and professors from the public sector to ask that the government pay them in dollars and not in the aforementioned promissory notes.

The Government insists that the country does not generate enough US dollars -divided adopted as official currency since 2009- to pay all the officials and that the promissory notes have the same value.

Black market rates, however, show that Zimbabwe's currency is shifted to a third of the value of a dollar, an unofficial devaluation that has led to a rise in prices in stores.

Last October a crisis broke out, after the government applied a new tax on electronic money transfers and the governor of the Central Bank admitted that the promissory note had lost value.

The stockpiling of basic products caused large queues in supermarkets, it became almost impossible to find bread and the price of medicines soared, while the domestic debt of the country exceeds 9,000 million dollars.


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