A short video clip posted by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum showed helmeted riot police on the back of an armoured troop carrier parked in Robert Mugabe Road, while vendors apparently pack their wares.
"Zimbabwe Republic Police launching 'operation restore order' on vendors on Rbt Mugabe rd in Hre's CBD!amp;" the group tweeted, in reference to the code name given to the police blitz by the authorities.
The group also tweeted a picture of a police water cannon patrolling the streets.
Heavy riot police presence amp;amp; the HCCouncil sweep vendors off the streets in Hre's CBD under " operation restore orderamp;"! pic.twitter.com/b3DzrCaDHo
- Zimbabwe HumanRights (@ZimHRNGOForum) October 12, 2017
The move came after Mugabe on Saturday complained that roads in central Harare, including the one named after him, were dirty and overcrowded with illegal street traders who block traffic. "We must clear the roads," he said.
On Wednesday Harare's provincial minister, Miriam Chikukwa ordered illegal vendors and taxi operators to vacate the city centre with "immediate effect", said the state-run Herald.
The minister was speaking at a briefing with top security officials.