As economic hardships and demonstrations persist in Zimbabwe, residents observed a stay-at home as foreign banks and most businesses in the capital, Harare remained shut down.
A devastating drought had compounded economic hardship in the country including high joblessness.
A young pastor, Evan Mawarire said they started the “This flag campaign” in April to protest against coruption, injustice and poverty.
This government will ignore the citizens at their own peril and people have said well, this is not going to have any impact.
“This government will ignore the citizens at their own peril and people have said well, this is not going to have any impact; this is a government that doesn’t respect things like that, the one thing that you have to understand that this is doing is that it is uniting the citizens,” he said.
The “stay-away” follows violent clashes between taxi drivers and police on Monday,July 4 that led to the arrest of 95 people.
It also coincided with a strike by doctors, teachers and nurses whose salaries had been delayed.
Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba warned that government would arrest anyone inciting violence.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to warn all those who are inciting, instigating and engaging in violence that such misconduct will be severely dealt with,” she added.
Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader at 92, has led the former British colony since independence in 1980.
His critics said he has presided over the destruction of a once-promising country with policies such as the seizures of white-owned farms. His government blames foreign powers for sabotaging the economy and stirring unrest.
A teacher in Harare Robert Masaraure said he supports the strike action and optimistic it will help to change things.
Local private media said Zimbabweans in other major cities have also stayed at home, with most businesses closed.