Three dead in Zimbabwe protests over alleged election fraud

The Electoral Commission has not yet given any clarity on who might become the country's next president

The Electoral Commission has not yet given any clarity on who might become the country's next president

Three people were killed after soldiers moved into Harare on Wednesday, firing live rounds and beating protesters.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa tweeted his plea not long after blaming the opposition for deadly violence in the capital that he said was "meant to disrupt the electoral process".

Zimbabwean authorities say the military will remain in the capital until "this situation is over", a reference to opposition protests over alleged manipulation of Monday's election results.

MDC supporters, who say their leader Nelson Chamisa won the vote, burnt tyres and pulled down street signs as protests spread from the party headquarters in Harare.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission says "sometime tomorrow (Thursday)" it will say when those will be announced.

"We as a party we are obviously very pleased that the results announced by ZEC so far show that we achieved two-thirds majority from the parliamentary election", ZANU-PF's legal secretary is Paul Mangwana told reporters.

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 worldwide sanctions on the once-prosperous country.

The head of the Commonwealth election observers in Zimbabwe is condemning what he calls the "excessive use of force against unarmed civilians" by security forces.

The commission said it would release vote totals "sometime" on Thursday, even though it said most of the results "are here with us".

Zimbabwe went to the ballot on July 30, the first poll since long-time ruler Robert Mugabe was ousted from power by last November.

The Comesa mission said the election was "peaceful, transparent and adhered to regional and global standards". Quiet descended as people waited for election results expected later in the day.

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"These elections were so peaceful and we have never had such peaceful elections since independence...so the Zimbabwe Republic Police tried to halt the (protesters') violence but were overpowered, and so the army came in".

Mr Chamisa's party alleges that the elections are being rigged in favour of Zanu-PF, a claim ZEC denies.

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 criticised the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for being at times "one-sided".

Gunfire was heard downtown throughout the afternoon, including near the ruling party headquarters where protesters had gathered.

Writing on Twitter, Mnangagwa also called for an independent investigation into the violence, in which three people were killed after soldiers were deployed to the streets of the capital on Wednesday.

Police claimed that around 4,000 opposition supporters were "besieging" the city centre carrying iron bars and stones while the opposition said they were not responsible for the demonstrations.

The opposition "are testing our resolve", he said, "and I think they are making a big mistake".

The United Nations and European Union both urged restraint, while Britain, a supporter of the "new" post-Mugabe Zimbabwe, said it was "deeply concerned" by the violence.

"There is no explanation whatsoever for the brutality that we saw today". We've more votes than ED (Emmerson Mnangagwa).

Mr Mnangagwa's Government has accused Mr Chamisa and his supporters of inciting violence by declaring he had won.

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