More than 550 people arrested during SA national shutdown, say police

More than 550 protesters were arrested and 24,300 tyres were confiscated during the EFF’s national action on Monday.

Police spokeswoman Brigadier General Atlenda Mate said the arrests were charged with public violence, intimidation, damage to critical infrastructure, theft and attempted robbery.

Gauteng recorded the highest number of arrests, with 149 detainees. The Northern Cape recorded the second highest number of arrests with 95, followed by the Eastern Cape with 80 and the Free State with 64.

Police seized 24, 300 tyres that had been “strategically placed for acts of criminality”, said Mathe.

The arrests resulted from “integrated law enforcement deployments”, and law enforcement agencies were supported by the defence force, private security groups, community policing forms and neighbourhood watches, Mathe added.

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The government called the EFF protests an attempt to get President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign as a failure.

Protests were concentrated in Pretoria, where between 2,000 and 2,500 protesters gathered in the church square before marching towards Mahlamba Ndlofu, Ramaphosa’s official residence. Small protests were scattered around the country.

In Johannesburg, hundreds of supporters from the city of Alexander marched towards Sandton. In Thembise East Rand, protesters also blocked roads with burning tires and rocks.

In Durban, about 5,000 protesters marched 5 km from Pixley Road in Isaka Seme to Moses Mabida Stadium.

In Cape Town, about 400 people made their way into parliament.

“The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) is satisfied with the manner in which the integrated law enforcement deployments have exercised their authority in ensuring law and order in the country thus far,” Mathe said.

“The Natjoints takes this opportunity to appreciate the protest that proceeded in a peaceful and orderly manner in Pretoria. In the rest of the country, those who were found to be contravening the law were dealt with accordingly, within the ambit of the law.”

Mathe said law enforcement agencies would “continue to monitor the situation closely”.

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