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Many firms in Harare stay shut

| Crime and security

Initial reports suggest that many people heeded a call by activists to shut down some towns and cities in Zimbabwe to vent their frustration against President Robert Mugabe‚ the crumbling economy and delayed payment of civil servant salaries, Business Day reports.

While many shops and businesses in the capital Harare closed their doors‚ residents complained that social-media services such as WhatsApp appeared to have been blocked‚ possibly by the government.

Zimbabwean authorities warned citizens earlier in the week to go about their business as usual.

NewsDay journalists found a heavy police presence in Harare’s suburbs such as Glen Norah‚ Mufakose‚ Machipisa and Mabvuku. Shops were closed and public transport scarce.

Movement for Democratic Change senator and former minister of education‚ sport‚ arts and culture‚ David Coltart‚ tweeted earlier in the day: "Report just in from #Harare — 95% of businesses in certain areas shut. Also appears as if regime has tried to shut down WhatsApp."

The streets of Masvingo and Bulawayo were also reported to be quiet and empty.

Harare News‚ a community newspaper‚ posted pictures on Twitter of quiet‚ empty streets in the capital city.

Although the protestors chose to stay off the streets and avoid violent confrontation with the police‚ many voiced frustration over reports of WhatsApp being blocked on some mobile networks.

Africa Unite summed up the frustration: "Seems the internet in Zimbabwe is being intentionally blocked to limit news filtering out #ZimShutDown2016."

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