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>> Protesters barricaded roads and burned tires in Zimbabwe on Monday, as anger over the worst economic crisis in decades spilled on to the streets. The unrest was sparked by a massive fuel price hike, 150% announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the weekend.
Police fired tear gas to quell the mass demonstrations in the capital Harare and Zimbabwe's second biggest city, Bulawayo. Local rights groups said that there'd been reports of five people sustaining gunshot wounds. In downtown Harare, riot police were deployed on the streets, companies closed early and schools called parents to pick up their children as the city braced itself for potential violence.
Reuters' Macdonald Dzirutwe is there.>> Right now I am in the center of the business district, where it is extremely quiet. Usually this time of the year it's buzzing with people, with vendors, and people are going back from home but as you can see it's absolutely quiet. The government is worried, again, of deploying the army following the events of August 1 last year, when six people were killed in post-election violence.
>> The fuel price hike is a bid to tackle a currency crunch but was met with disbelief in a country where 80% of the population is unemployed. The price of basic goods has been spiraling and medical supplies are scarce. In November, inflation hit 31%, the highest it's been since the worst days of Zimbabwe's economic crisis under Robert McGarvey.
Then it reached 500 billion percent ultimately forcing the country to abandon the Zimbabwean dollar in exchange for the US one. On Friday, the finance minister said Zimbabwe would reintroduce its own currency in the next 12 months. But many are also not happy about this.>> We still have memories of their own currency which was left worthless by hyperinflation in 2008, which also wiped our pensions and savings and made may Zimbabweans poor.
>> Mnangagwa was in Moscow on Monday at the start of a five-nation trip. He defended the fuel price rise saying that Zimbabwe is going through political and economic reforms, and that these do not come easily.