26, October 2019
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Zimbabwe’s capital, calling on the United States and European Union to lift the “evil” sanctions they have imposed on the country’s president and several other top officials for almost two decades.
The demonstrators rallied at Harare’s Robert Mugabe Square on Friday before proceeding towards the National Sports Stadium, where President Emmerson Mnangagwa delivered an address.
They were chanting slogans like, “Down with sanctions” while carrying placards reading “Sanctions must go now” and “Anti-sanctions solidarity march.”
The president’s supporters, in white t-shirts, were also carrying placards describing the sanctions as “evil” and “weapon of mass destruction to mankind.”
The US imposed financial and travel restrictions against 85 individuals, including Mnangagwa and late former President Robert Mugabe and other members of the ruling ZANU-PF party back in 2001.
The sanctions have expanded to include 56 companies or organizations ever since.
Washington also imposed a ban on weapons exports to the African country.
In March, the US administration added to its list some military officials involved in last year’s crackdown on protesters.
The European bloc also targeted specific individuals both within the government and associated with it.
Western sanctions are ‘cancer’: Mnangagwa
During his speech on Friday, Mnangagwa described the measures as “cancer,” eating at the country’s economy.
“We know very well that the sanctions are neither smart nor targeted,” he told a large crowd.
“Their impact on our daily lives is immeasurable and the consequences are dire,” the president added.
Zimbabweans are experiencing severe economic hardship, which is characterized by the highest inflation rate in the world.
According to figures released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), annual inflation in Zimbabwe was 300 percent in August.