12 killed in Zimbabwe crackdown - NGO

Long queues have formed at petrol stations and shops

MDC lawmakers are among almost 800 people who have been rounded up by the military and police, accused of looting shops and inciting violent protest.

In Geneva, The U.N. human rights office called on the government to halt the crackdown and denounced allegations of "generalised intimidation and harassment" of protesters.

And it urged Zimbabwe's government "to find ways of engaging with the population about their legitimate grievances".

The January 14 protests came after the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) called a three-day job boycott over the "provocative" fuel price increase which makes a litre of petrol, at $3,31, the most expensive in the world.

The violence rose on Monday after President Emmerson Mnangagwa raised fuel prices by 150 percent.

The internet was entirely blocked until Friday afternoon, when some service was resumed.

Local rights groups say security forces, accused of night raids and beating suspected protesters in their homes, were on Sunday trying to track down people who have gone into hiding.

"They must immediately end the shutdown of the Internet, which is a blatant attempt to silence the voices of the Zimbabwean people and to deny them the right to know", said Dunia.

Meanwhile, in London Africa minister Harriett Baldwin summoned Zimbabwe's ambassador Christian Katsande to express the UK's concern over the deteriorating situation in its former colony.

The EU on Thursday joined the USA and Britain in criticising the authorities' response to the protests.

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Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters Friday in Geneva: "It's very hard to manage a situation like this, but the bottom line is that the use of live ammunition by security forces was used, excessive violence was used".

The internet had been partially restored after a first shutdown started on Tuesday.

In Bulawayo, Gweru and some parts of Harare, shops were looted although when police rounded up the suspects, they identified Zanu PF members and soldiers among them.

We sincerely apologise for all inconvenience caused by the acts of government which are beyond our reasonable control, " the operator said.

Pastor and activist Evan Mawarire, right, arrives handcuffed at the magistrates courts in Harare, Zimbabwe, Friday.

These reports have however not been verified or rejected by Zimbabwe's ruling elite.

Global calls for restraint by Zimbabwe's security forces are growing, while Mnangagwa prepares to plead for more investment at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

But he has been struggling to revive the economy, which is experiencing high inflation while wages have stagnated.

With US dollar notes scarce, Zimbabweans are forced to withdraw "bond notes" - supposedly equal to US dollars but worth far less in reality.

The crackdown on the demonstrations has stoked fears of a return to the violent repression the of Mugabe era.

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