Florence Manyanga is an informal trader in a suburb of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, where violence recently flared between the police and supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). She spoke to IRIN about the crackdown by the security forces on growing protest over conditions in the country.
"I have witnessed several skirmishes between the police and residents in recent months, and over the years, and my feeling is that the police, and sometimes the army, overact. It beats me why they cannot just let the people hold rallies and express their opinions.
"I am also worried by the fact that when supporters of [the ruling] ZANU-PF decide to gather for meetings or even carry out demonstrations without police clearance, nothing is done to them. That means the law is being applied to suit those who are ruling.
"I am not surprised that some people became so angry to the extent of trying to kill police officers because they have just become too cruel. Even innocent civilians like myself, who are not interested in politics, are caught in the cross fire. We get beaten and are accused of being supporters of the MDC.
"The problem with that is, we will all end up joining in the street protests because even if we don't, we are beaten up. The fights between the police and residents are affecting my business, and how do these government officials who send the police to beat us up think we can survive, especially now that prices of commodities are going up without control?"
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions