SECURITY officers in Zimbabwe enforced a lockdown of Harare today, blocking people from entering the city the day before anti-government protests are due to take place.
Police and soldiers manned checkpoints and ordered hundreds of people trying to enter the national capital to return home.
People in the city centre were ordered to leave and businesses were closed.
There were similar actions in other smaller towns across the country.
Demonstrations were originally planned to denounce alleged government corruption, but they are now targeting the ruling Zanu-PF party and worsening economic conditions.
The World Food Programme projected today that the number of Zimbabweans hit by food insecurity could reach 8.6 million people — 60 per cent of the population — by the end of the year.
On Wednesday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa described the planned protests as “an insurrection to overthrow our democratically elected government.”
The opposition and human rights groups have reported abuses such as arrests, detentions, beatings and stalking of activists and ordinary people accused of violating lockdown rules.
Police and government spokespersons have dismissed the allegations.