Community leaders demand release of Western Cape Shutdown protesters

Total shutdown community representatives gather in Hanover Park. (Christina Pitt, News24)
Total shutdown community representatives gather in Hanover Park. (Christina Pitt, News24)

The communities involved in the "total shutdown" protests in Cape Town say that they will not engage with the police until their fellow protesters are released.

Sporadic protests in Hanover Park, Bishop Lavis, Bonteheuwel, Ottery and Manenberg took place around the city on Tuesday, resulting in scuffles with police and traffic disruptions.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut confirmed that 13 people from Bishop Lavis and Kensington had been arrested during the protest.

The purpose of the protest was to call national government's attention to the social inequalities, poverty and gangsterism within the communities.

The various community organisations held a media briefing in Hanover Park on Tuesday after lunch following the protest.

The right to peaceful protests

"SAPS and public order police must change their operations procedure," Bishop Lavis community representative, who identified himself only as AK, said.

"It is our constitutional right to protest. If they do not release those detainees, we will declare SAPS the enemy of the working class."

Ottery representative Faarah September shared similar sentiments.

"Why do we need permission to protest?" she asked.

"I reminded the police that, according to the Constitution, we have the right to protest peacefully."

Hanover Park representative Mansoer Arendse encouraged the community to continue, with their permission.

"This is far from over. We're going to do this again and again until there are no more bodies left in the street," he said.

Community leaders said that they were demanding improved police visibility and the eviction of drug lords and gangsters from their communities.

Western Cape police said they would release a full statement on the day's events later on Tuesday.

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