Harare - Police in Zimbabwe's capital on Monday fired tear gas, water cannons and warning shots during riots by minibus drivers and others protesting alleged police harassment. The violence, in which 30 people were arrested, came amid a surge in protests in recent weeks because of increasing economic hardship and alleged mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe.
An Associated Press journalist saw protesters severely beat two police officers with sticks, then take their uniforms and helmets and wear them.
The protesters blocked roads leading into the center of Harare, forcing many people to walk up to 10 kilometers to get to work. Rioters threw stones at police and vehicles, and some children on their way to school were caught up in the chaos.
Outnumbered police later sought to negotiate with the crowds after failing to disperse thousands of protesters, who were concentrated in Harare's eastern suburbs. Many rioters were young men who can't find regular employment and make a living off drivers by charging a small fee to load passengers into minibuses.
Some police were seen firing live ammunition into the air to ward off the crowds. They also brought in police dogs.