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South Africa: 550 arrests in protests against Ramaphosa

South Africa: 550 arrests in protests against Ramaphosa. More than 550 people were arrested Monday in South Africa, according to authorities, during protests called by a radical left-wing party that raised fears of a repeat of the deadly 2021 riots.

South Africa: 550 arrests in protests against Ramaphosa

South Africa: 550 arrests in protests against Ramaphosa: Security forces arrested “more than 550 protesters for, among other things, street violence, intimidation, damage, theft and attempted looting,” they said in a statement Tuesday.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, led by the willingly defiant Julius Malema, had urged South Africans to “revolutionize” and blockade the country on Monday to demand the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa. He considers him responsible for the endemic unemployment (32.9%) that is crippling the economy, the ever-increasing inequalities and the serious electricity crisis that poisons the daily life of 60 million South Africans with recurrent power cuts.

Thousands of protesters marched through South Africa’s cities on Monday, calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign over the lack of jobs and electricity, as security forces guarded malls and streets to prevent any violence and looting. As of 10 p.m. (2000 GMT) more than 550 protesters had been arrested since Sunday night on such charges as public violence, intimidation, damage to critical infrastructure and theft, the national intelligence body NatJOINTS said in a statement”, Reuters report.

But the call had revived memories of the wave of riots and looting that left more than 350 people dead in July 2021. The violence, the worst since the end of apartheid, was initially sparked by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, but was also a sign of a social and economic climate that was still at half-mast.

President Ramaphosa promised last week to prevent “anarchy. The police were on “maximum mobilization” throughout the country, backed by nearly 3,500 soldiers. Private security companies, which are numerous in the high-crime country, lent a hand and acted as “force multipliers on the ground.

“The country has not been brought to a standstill,” said presidential spokesman Vincent Magwenya the day before.