HARARE, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Traffic was thin in the Harare Central Business District as motorists and other members of the public remained cautious of planned demonstrations led by the opposition MDC.
Businesses opened while the police maintained a heavy presence in strategic areas from where they could easily deploy into the streets in case violence erupted.
The police also on Thursday night issued a prohibition order against the demonstrations and warned members of the public that they would be arrested if they participated.
Earlier during the day, police spokesperson Paul Nyati said investigations had shown that the demonstrations would not be peaceful and alleged that some people had transported some assault items into town and handed them over to homeless children living in the streets.
MDC treasurer-general David Coltart said they had approached the courts over the prohibition order.
"Our #MDC legal team is at the High Court for the hearing of our urgent application before Justice Musakwa. The team is waiting to get into chambers to argue that the police prohibition of today's march is illegal and unconstitutional," he twitted.
Reports from some residential areas also said many people opted not to report for work fearing possible violence.
Although calm prevailed in the morning, fears remained that the situation could deteriorate as the day progressed, with the MDC saying on Twitter that some of its members were geared up for the demonstrations.
The opposition wants to demonstrate against the deteriorating economy and other issues that they accuse the government of not handling properly.