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Supporters of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party protested outside a courthouse in the capital this week over the continued detention of 78 activists, a demonstration that was marked by violent clashes with police and concerns of ongoing repression in the southern African nation, Africanews reported.

Authorities used batons to break up demonstrations by supporters of Citizens Coalition for Change, who were demanding the release of the activists detained since mid-June.

The individuals were arrested for disorderly conduct and participating in a gathering to promote violence. If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison.

Amnesty International criticized the arrests as “part of a disturbing pattern of repression against people exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.” It called for a probe into allegations that some activists were tortured while in police custody.

The organization and other rights groups also pointed to a continued crackdown on opposition members and critics, including university students and labor unionists.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power in a 2017 coup with promises of democratic reforms, has denied the allegations of repression but has repeatedly warned the opposition against inciting violence.

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