HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The Latest on Zimbabwe’s election (all times local):
Human rights activists in Zimbabwe are condemning the military crackdown on opposition protesters in the capital, saying it raises questions about whether the current government is any different from that of former leader Robert Mugabe.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum says its member groups saw soldiers firing “randomly” in downtown Harare and beating up bystanders who were not involved in the protests on Wednesday. Three people were killed in the election-related violence.
The activists are denouncing violent protests but calling the government’s reaction illegal and “grossly disproportionate to the violence that it sought to contain.”
Some government supporters have accused opposition leaders of inciting violence by prematurely declaring victory in the presidential election. Official results have not yet been announced.
Britain’s minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, says she is “deeply concerned” about the deadly violence in Zimbabwe’s capital and she calls on political leaders to ensure calm and restraint “at this critical moment.”
Her statement on Twitter also urges British citizens in Zimbabwe to check for travel alerts on the changing situation.
The U.S. Embassy in Harare also has issued a statement urging Americans to avoid the central business district after Wednesday’s chaos in which the military entered downtown Harare and opened fire to disperse opposition supporters.
The U.S. statement says “the political situation in Zimbabwe remains uncertain.”
Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has told reporters it will announce the results of Monday’s presidential election “very soon.”
Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster earlier tweeted that the commission said it would announce those results at 9 p.m. That tweet has been deleted.
By law the commission has five days from Monday’s election to release the results.
China is calling Zimbabwe’s election “orderly” and urges Zimbabweans to maintain peace and stability after Wednesday’s violence in the capital left three people dead.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says Zimbabwe invited China to send an election observer mission and the mission found Zimbabweans to be “well-engaged” in Monday’s vote.
China has had growing influence in the southern African nation.
The European Union is appealing for calm in Zimbabwe a day after deadly violence linked to Monday’s elections that the EU says were marred by “shortcomings.”
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s office says in a statement that “we appeal for calm and restraint on all sides and for protests to be conducted according to the law.”
The statement notes that “a number of shortcomings were observed, including the lack of a truly level playing field” surrounding the vote.
It calls for the final election results to be “shared in a manner which provides for full transparency and accountability, including a breakdown by polling station.”
Zimbabwe’s electoral commission says it will announce the results of the presidential election at 9 p.m., after Western election observers urged their immediate release to avoid further tensions.
The commission is urging the public to remain calm and condemns the violence in the capital, Harare, on Wednesday that left three people dead.
Both the opposition and Western election observers have questioned why the presidential results, which were the first counted, are the last to be shared publicly. The opposition has raised fears about possible vote-rigging of the kind that marked past elections under former leader Robert Mugabe.
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.
John Dramani Mahama, former president of Ghana, urges all sides to exercise restraint a day after election-related violence killed three people in Harare, the capital.
Soldiers fired live rounds to disperse opposition demonstrators, some of whom were throwing rocks and destroying property.
Mahama urges the prompt release of presidential results from Monday’s election, saying delays will increase speculation that results were manipulated.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission by law has until Saturday to release the final election tally. It says the vote was free and fair and that parliamentary results show that the ruling party won a majority.
Zimbabwean soldiers are circulating in the capital, Harare, and telling vendors and other people to leave the city center by noon.
It is not yet clear when the electoral commission will announce the next set of results from Monday’s election. International observers from the Commonwealth and elsewhere are urging the release of the presidential results as soon as possible.
There is a heavy police presence around the headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party a day after the military swept into the city to disperse its supporters from protesting. Three people were killed.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa says his government has been in touch with the main opposition leader in an attempt to ease tensions after election-related violence in the country’s capital.
Mnangagwa on Thursday also tweeted that he wants an “independent investigation” into the clashes in Harare, saying those responsible “should be identified and brought to justice.”
Three people were killed after soldiers moved into Harare on Wednesday, firing live rounds and beating protesters.
The government has condemned the opposition for the protesters who threw rocks and set fires after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said the ruling ZANU-PF party had won a parliamentary majority in the election Monday.
The opposition believes it was cheated of victory by a commission allegedly biased toward the government. The electoral commission says the vote was credible.