By Leopold Munhende
POLICE have arrested five men in connection with the violence that rocked parts of Harare’s central business district on Thursday afternoon.
Hordes of angry youths rampaged through the city centre smashing cars while shouting obscenities leaving afternoon shoppers scurrying for cover.
Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed that five men had been arrested. He however did not reveal their names.
“I can confirm that we arrested five people in connection with the violence that took place along First Street yesterday (Thursday) afternoon. One of those was actually picked up through a video which was posted on the internet.
“The violence was caused by vendors who sell books between Kwame Nkrumah and Jason Moyo Avenues. They resisted an order by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and municipal police to remove their wares from the streets where they were selling them from,” said Nyathi.
“The police were forced to throw tear smoke after the vendors barricaded part of the streets and started throwing bricks at passers-by and vehicles within the area.”
Nyathi dismissed rumours the youths were linked to any political party.
Dozens of passers-by scurried for cover as some 30 youths descended on them with bricks hitting anyone and anything in their path.
Some shops along First Street Mall were forced to close, after the youths began targeting those that were open as well as vehicles.
Tension is high in the capital as disgruntled unions and the main opposition MDC continue to threaten mass action over the deteriorating economic conditions.
High prices and low salaries eroded by rising inflation contributed to intermittent protests with 17 people dying after demonstrations broke out over fuel price increases in January this year.