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May 19, 2024 3:42 pm

South Africa arrests 87 before planned anti-government protest

South African authorities have arrested 87 people ahead of a planned anti-government protest that was scheduled to take place in Johannesburg. The arrests were made in the early hours of Saturday morning, after police received intelligence that the protest could turn violent.

According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), those arrested are facing charges including public violence, malicious damage to property, and contraventions of Covid-19 regulations. The SAPS said in a statement that the arrests were made to prevent “any threat to the safety and security of the public and property.”

The planned protest was organized by a group called the #UniteBehind Coalition, which has been calling for greater action to address issues including corruption, poverty, and inequality in South Africa. The coalition had called on supporters to march to the offices of the National Prosecuting Authority in Johannesburg, to demand action against corrupt officials.

However, the authorities had banned the protest, citing concerns about public safety and the spread of Covid-19. In response, the #UniteBehind Coalition had called on supporters to gather online instead, using the hashtag #NoToCorruption.

The arrests have been criticized by some civil society groups, who argue that they are a violation of the right to peaceful protest. However, the authorities have defended the arrests, saying that they were necessary to protect public safety.

South Africa has been grappling with a range of social and economic challenges in recent years, including high levels of corruption, unemployment, and inequality. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated these issues, leading to widespread economic hardship and social unrest.

The authorities have faced criticism for their handling of these challenges, with some accusing them of failing to take sufficient action to address the root causes of the problems. The planned protest was seen by many as a sign of growing frustration with the government’s response to these issues.

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