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Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Zimbabwe riots intensify
Burning barricade
Protests are spreading in southern Harare
Riots in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, have intensfied, as protesters took to the streets for a second day to demonstrate against the rising cost of food and transport.

The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has meanwhile promised to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday.

Our correspondent in Harare says the protests are more widespread than Monday's action, though they have not spread to the city centre.

Rock-strewn street
Rocks were strewn across roads to block traffic
Witnesses said the police fired tear gas at the protesters, who were armed with sticks and stones.

In several suburbs the police engaged in running battles with stone-throwing youths.

The focus of the protest appeared to be Mbare, a working-class suburb to the south of the city, but the riots spread to other areas as well.

One aim of the protest was to prevent people from travelling.

Barricades

Burning barricades or rocks strewn across the road blocked traffic in suburbs to the south of the capital.

Stones were thrown at vehicles, and in some cases the drivers were robbed.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
Tsvangirai: Impeachment bid aimed at heading off protests
Schools and shops in the affected areas have been forced to close.

Central Harare has remained quiet, with many people staying away from work.

Correspondents say the riots appear to be spreading to a number of townships across the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.

Similar food riots two years ago later spread nationwide.

Inflation

The protests are against increases in the prices of bread, sugar, public transport and other essentials.

Robert Mugabe
Mugabe: Certain to survive impeachment attempt
Inflation has spiralled in Zimbabwe in recent months, with a foreign exchange shortage leading to increases in fuel prices, which have in turn pushed up the cost of food and public transport.

In some instances, the prices paid by consumers for basic commodities have increased by 50% or even 100% overnight.

Those taking part said the prices of such basics as transport and food were now so high that they had nothing to lose by taking to the streets.

Impeachment bid

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Monday that his party would seek the removal of Mr Mugabe for "gross violations of the constitution".

He said that proceedings would begin when parliament reconvened on Tuesday.

But correspondents say that anger over runaway inflation and continuing lawlessness is shifting attention away from politics and towards street protests.

Mr Tsvangirai said all members of parliament of genuine goodwill should feel compelled to support the initiative when the parliament reconvenes.

But the MDC does not have the two-thirds of seats it needs to carry out impeachment, and the ruling party MPs are almost certain not to support the move.

The impeachment bid is being interpreted as an attempt to head off further spontaneous street protests.

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16 Oct 00 | Africa
In pictures: Zimbabwe riots
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