Britain told the Zimbabwe government on Thursday that the military should be taken off the streets of Harare after a fatal crackdown on demonstrators following the presidential elections.
Soldiers and police cleared the streets of the city centre a day after the clampdown, as the Zimbabwean authorities begged for patients over the release of the election results.
“We condemn the excessive use of force by the security forces towards demonstrators,” the British embassy in Harare tweeted in a statement.
“The British ambassador met government ministers yesterday and again today and made clear that the military should be removed from the streets of Harare and the security forces should act with the utmost restraint.”
The vote — the first since autocrat Robert Mugabe was ousted last year — turned bloody on Wednesday when troops opened fire on demonstrations against alleged electoral fraud, leaving three dead and prompting an international outcry.
“We welcome the statement by the president that there will be an independent investigation and we look forward to this being implemented quickly,” the British embassy statement said.
“Zimbabwe is experiencing a period of heightened tension around the presidential election. All political leaders have a responsibility to ensure they do not raise tensions or issue statements that make violence more likely.”
Britain is the former colonial power in Zimbabwe, which gained its independence in 1980 under Mugabe.