Armed anti-riot police Thursday sealed off the eastern border city of Mutare, putting paid to plans by MDC to storm the streets of the Manicaland capital in defiance of a police ban on a protest initially scheduled for the same day.
Authorities issued a fifth prohibition order on the planned demonstration after stopping the MDC from holding protests in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Masvingo inside a week.
The MDC Wednesday had declared "its game on" after the prohibition but Mutare was teeming with security officials with check-points on all roads leading into the city.
It was business as usual as shops opened their doors to the public with no sign of any disturbance in sight.
MDC provincial chairperson Prosper Mutseyami said the heavy presence of State security apparatus in Mutare was sad for democracy.
Mutseyami said the people of Mutare had been denied the right to protest against rising costs of living and to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa's legitimacy.
"We will look into it (issue of demonstrations) deeper as we go," he said.
He said Mnangagwa had deceived many people into thinking he was going to be better than his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
"Whoever thought we are moving in a New Dispensation must realise that we are actually in a new deception.
"Thus the message we need to send to the world and everyone who thinks ED (Mnangagwa) was going to change things should realise that he is worse than Mugabe," said the Chikanga-Dangamvura legislator.
The MDC seems to have been caught unawares after Mnangagwa's move to literally ban the party off the streets citing possible violence.
The courts have also not helped matters after upholding the prohibition orders issued by the police.