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Zimbabwean police break up opposition demonstration over electoral reforms
Last Updated: 2017-07-13 08:20 | Xinhua
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Zimbabwean police on Wednesday used tear gas and water canon to break up a demonstration by opposition MDC-T youths in the capital Harare.

The youths staged the protest to demand electoral reforms and increased voter registration centers in Harare and Bulawayo.

Zimbabwe will hold general elections next year. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission recently announced that it would set up 9,663 voter registration centers across the country with Harare and Bulawayo getting a combined 1,100 centers, a number the opposition considers too low.

The opposition argues that the figure is less than that allocated in previous elections and alleges that ZEC allocated more registration centers in areas where the governing ZANU-PF enjoys more support.

ZEC said voter registration was expected to start soon.

According to state-run news agency New Ziana, there was heavy police presence in the city center the whole day while most businesses near the MDC-T headquarters in central Harare were closed.

ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau said Monday the electoral body was not worried by the demonstrations and urged dialogue over the matter.

"If they believe they can get answers out in the streets, they are free to do so," Makarau said.

ZEC has started the process to acquire biometric voter registration kits, which will be used in Zimbabwe for the first time.

The electoral management body plans to conduct voter registration for two and half months and expects to register up to 7 million voters, up from 6.8 million voters in the previous 2013 election.

Prospective voters would need an identification document and proof of residence, which has been expanded to include an affidavit statement, to confirm where they reside.

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