Harare tense tonight ahead of presidential results announcement

Zimbabwe's ruling party wins majority seats in parliament: Poll body

Worldwide observers urged the electoral commission to release the tally as soon as possible to avoid further violence after six people were killed on Wednesday in clashes between security forces and opposition supporters.

Anti-riot police dispersed a few hundred opposition protesters who were attempting to enter the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's offices.

Addressing journalists who challenged the MDC Alliance for sending out its supporters - some of whom threw stones and burned barricades and Zanu-PF regalia - to protest and declare victory for Chamisa before ZEC had released the presidential results, Chamisa's Spokesperson, Dr. Nkululeko Sibanda, said Zanu-PF likely infiltrated the protesters to create chaos.

Official results strengthened President Emmerson Mnangagwa's prospects of holding on to power in the key presidential vote, showing that ZANU-PF had easily won the most seats in the parliamentary ballot.

The government warned of a further crackdown on demonstrations after at least three protesters were shot dead yesterday when the army fired live rounds at crowds.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said the three people killed were yet to be identified.

Earlier, MDC leader Nelson Chamisa wrote on Twitter that he had won the "popular vote" in this week's presidential election, in which he faced off against President Emmerson Mnangagwa from the ruling Zanu-PF party. The EU mission questioned why presidential votes were counted first but were being announced last.

A credible vote is crucial to the lifting of global sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe so that its collapsed economy can recover. The opposition has raised fears about possible vote-rigging of the kind that marked past elections under former leader Robert Mugabe.

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The MDC said the army had opened fire "for no apparent reason", killing unarmed civilians.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said it was disturbed by the events that unfolded in Harare. "We thought they were our savior in November but they fooled us", said newspaper vendor Farai Dzengera, saying that the brief dream of an end to decades of repression was over.

"The more the presidential vote is delayed, the more it calls into question the population's confidence in the election process", said former Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the lead observer of a United States monitoring mission.

Britain's minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, said she was "deeply concerned" about the deadly violence and urged political leaders to ensure calm and restraint "at this critical moment".

An equal number are still holed up inside the building in central Harare.

As at the time of filing this story, soldiers were ordering people to go home and shops owners are being asked to close their shops, according to a tweet by a reporter from the Financial Times.

Now some Harare residents, standing amid the shattered windows of Wednesday's (Thursday NZT) violence, expressed frustration and exhaustion. "We saw a helicopter, a military helicopter. buzzing the city and you could see a soldier on the helicopter pointing a machine gun at people". At one point, the relatives blocked hospital staff from wheeling the body to the mortuary and demanded a police explanation; a plainclothes officer said they could return Thursday to pick up the body after a police investigation.

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