Diplomats say opposition activists were abducted and beaten before a demonstration against the cash-strapped government's plans to introduce a new currency.

The demonstration planned against the introduction of bond notes failed to take off Friday, after the violence against the organizers.

The European Union delegation in Harare said in a statement Friday that social activists were brutalized before the anti-government demonstration. The EU statement expressed concern at the recent growth of human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

Local media reported that six people were beaten and two cars were burned Thursday night in what was seen as a warning against going ahead with the protests.

President Robert Mugabe's government, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is facing an economic crisis that has caused massive cash shortages.