Mozambique food price protests continue

Angry protesters burn tires on the streets of Mozambique's capital and a TV station says at least one person was killed.
A woman passes nearby burning tires in a street in Maputo, Mozambique, on Thursday, a day after police opened fire on stone-throwing crowds who were protesting rising prices. ((Nastasya Tay/Associated Press))

Angry protesters burned tires on the streets of Mozambique's capital and a TV station said at least one person was killed Thursday, a day after at least four people died in clashes between police and rioters.

Mozambique's S-TV said a young man drowned after he ran from police and stumbled into a small pond in Maputo, the capital. Police did not immediately confirm the death.

Protesters, most of them young men, had rioted Wednesday over the rising cost of food, fuel and water. They threw stones and looted shops in Maputo. Cellphone messages late Wednesday and early Thursday called for continued protests.

Protesters Thursday appeared to avoid confrontations with police and soldiers, who were on the streets in large numbers. Those gathered would scatter when police and soldiers came near, only to regroup when the patrols passed. Sporadic gunfire could be heard as police fired into the air.

Most people stayed in their homes, out of fear of renewed violence and because, with debris from the rioting making roads impassible, buses and taxi vans were not running.

Augusto Gonas, a protester on the streets Thursday, said a call for calm from President Armando Guebuza the night before "offended us. What we need to hear is the order to lower prices."