Zimbabwe Protesters Killed as Nation Awaits Presidential Election Results

MDC supporters celebrate in the street outside the MDC Headquarters

The violence erupted after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said the ruling ZANU-PF party won a majority in parliament.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the government is surprised by violence that broke out after the announcement of National Assembly results.

Automatic gunfire has been heard all afternoon as troops attempt to disperse protestors. Police fired tear gas and grabbed more canisters from an officer carrying them in a crate.

This photo taken on January 7, 2017 shows Zimbabwe's then acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaking during a funeral ceremony in Harare. There were pools and trails of blood on the streets.

Although the campaign has been free of the systematic violence that marred previous polls, the MDC has repeatedly claimed it has been hindered by a flawed electoral roll, ballot paper malpractice, voter intimidation and handouts to voters from the ruling party.

An opposition supporter hold his hands up after being sprayed with a water canon and in clouds of teargas on a street in Harare.

Pfigu said he was optimistic on election day for the country's first vote without Mugabe, who ruled for almost four decades, on the ballot. "People were happy on Monday. We will go. They run this country". The police can also ask the military for help in cases of public disturbances.

Former President Robert Mugabe said at a media briefing at his private residence on Sunday that the controversial electoral authority was clean.

"Are we in war? Are civilians enemies of the state?" he asked.

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Police patrol outside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices as opposition supporters gather, in Harare, Zimbabwe, on August 1, 2018.

It also expressed "serious concerns" as representatives of Western and other groups gave their first assessments of whether the vote was free and fair - crucial for lifting global sanctions on the once-prosperous country.

The EU's Chief Observer, Elmar Brok, said he did not yet know if the shortcomings would have a material effect on the outcome of the vote, and he criticised the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for being at times "one-sided".

The opposition has alleged irregularities, saying voting results were not posted outside one-fifth of polling stations as required by law.

The turmoil started soon after opposition leader Nelson Chamisa claimed he had won the popular vote.

Chamisa, 40, said. He also accused the commission of announcing the parliamentary results first to "reverse the people's presidential election victory", and "prepare Zim [Zimbabwe] mentally to accept fake presidential results". Zimbabwe's electoral commission says "sometime tomorrow" it will say when those will be released.

"There is a deliberate delay in formally announcing results", he told a news conference, characterising it as "interference with the people's will".

The Commonwealth's observer mission said on Thursday Zimbabwe's security services used excessive force to break up protests in Harare over this week's presidential election. On Wednesday, they came to enforce a crackdown.

Biti cited his own constituency, Harare East, as an example, saying despite the fact that they finished the whole process at 3am, ZEC had not pushed the results to the constituency command centre.

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