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Harare (NAN) Zimbabwean police on Monday arrested an opposition youth leader on charges of inciting public violence against the government of President Robert Mugabe, the youth leader’s lawyer said.

According to the charges, Happymore Chidziva from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) encouraged violent protests and resistance to police.

He allegedly made the statements in August 2016, when MDC supporters waged running battles with police.

Chidziva’s lawyer Jeremiah Bhamu said he was expected to appear in court within 48 hours.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said she was yet to be briefed on the arrest.

“Happymore Chidziva has got absolutely no criminal case to answer,” MDC spokesman Obert Gutu said.

“The regime is in panic mode.

“They are desperately trying to spread shock and awe amongst the generality of the suppressed and toiling masses of Zimbabwe,” he added.

The southern African country has been hit by protests led by the opposition and social movements, resulting in hundreds of arrests last year.

Chidziva was arrested just as the ruling party ZANU-PF prepares to celebrate the 93rd birthday of Mugabe, in power since 1980, whom critics accuse of ruining the economy and suppressing dissent.

Mugabe’s birthday falls on Tuesday, but the birthday celebrations will be held Saturday in Matopo National Park.

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