Opposition mass protests against deepening economic problems in Zimbabwe were called off on Friday after a court upheld an 11th hour ban imposed by the police.

Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had vowed to launch protests marches on Friday against the worsening economy, despite government threats to stop them.

Late on Thursday police said the protests had been banned.

The MDC went to court in the early hours of Friday to challenge the ban, but lost the case.

“The court has said the demonstration should be off,” MDC spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda said.

The party’s vice president Tendai Biti told reporters outside the high court that “we differ respectfully with the ruling”.

“The fascist regime has denied the right for Zimbabweans to demonstrate,” said Biti.

He added that even if they had won “this march was not going to take place because the city has been cordoned off” by police.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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