RUNNING FOR COVER: Nelson Chamisa's MDC supporters barricade a road in Harare yesterday. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Harare - The death toll from a crackdown by troops on protesters following Zimbabwe's disputed election has doubled to six, police said Thursday.

On Wednesday, soldiers opened fire to disperse stone-throwing opposition supporters who accused the ruling party of trying to rig Monday's presidential election.

Gunfire crackled in the streets while troops, backed by armoured vehicles and a military helicopter and some with their faces masked, cleared the streets.

One person was shot dead near a bus rank, witnesses at the scene told a Reuters photographer. Police then confirmed the death of two more people.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told a press conference Thursday that the toll had risen from three to six after some protesters succumbed to their injuries.

"The number of deaths, and it is really regrettable and unfortunate, has risen to six as three of the victims succumbed to injuries while seeking medical attention," Charamba said.

AFP and Reuters