Zimbabwe police have fired tear gas, water cannons and gunshots to stop hundreds of youths protesting against police brutality in the capital, Harare.

Police and protesters fought running battles downtown Wednesday. Police fired water cannons and gunshots into the air after some protesters attacked a supermarket owned by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.

Protesters also set on fire a vehicle belonging to state-run broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

A journalist was among those beaten by police.

The main opposition MDC-T party's youth wing organized the protest to denounce what they described as worsening police brutality against political and civil rights activists.

Police were deployed heavily outside Parliament and on the main streets in late afternoon, forcing shop owners to abandon their business.