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Zimbabwe elections: Three dead as opposition protests shatter hopes for peaceful process

Nine months ago they were greeted as heroes, posing on their armoured vehicles for selfies with civilians overjoyed at their liberation from a moribund, corrupt, and violent dictator who had plunged the country into economic misery.

But on Wednesday night Zimbabwean troops were back on the streets of Harare – with bayonets fixed and in armoured cars to impose order with a blunt force that brought back unpleasant memories of Robert Mugabe’s reign.

And the fragile hopes that Zimbabwe’s first elections since Mr Mugabe was overthrown would be peaceful went up in a pall of black smoke and tear gas.

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