> More reports overnight of soldiers beating people on the streets of Harare and Bulawayo. There's been no comment from Zimbabwe's government or the military, who are keeping up patrols and checkpoints in both cities. Lawyers and activists say a dozen people have been killed and scores more wounded and arrested since anti-government protests began ten days ago triggered by a hike in fuel costs.
Zimbabwe's Human Rights Commission has accused security forces of systematic torture.>> It was reported that their modus operandi was the same in all the communities assessed by the commission. They would arrive at people's houses at night or in the early hours of the day and ask all men to go outside and lie on the ground.
They would then beat up all the men, including boys as young as 11 years.>> Police and military have denied past accusations of excessive force, and President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised to investigate the crack down. But the crisis has raised fears that Zimbabwe is reverting to the authoritarian style rule of Robert Mugabe, something Mnangagwa had promised to break free from.
>> It's very unfortunate and very tragic that we are back to the past. The most important point right now is the stopping of harassment, mass arrests of people who did not commit any crime.>> The accusations of more beatings come as a court postponed a bill application for prominent activist Pastor Evan Mawarire, arrested last week and charged with inciting violence to subvert the government.
Hundreds of others detained during the crackdown are awaiting trial.