WATCH | Stun grenades, water cannons used at hospitality industry protest outside Parliament

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  • Hospitality industry protesters were dispersed by police outside the gates of Parliament.
  • Stun grenades and water cannons were used.
  • A photographer covering the event said the march was peaceful.

Stun grenades and water cannons were used to disperse protesters marching to raise awareness about the plight of the hospitality industry outside Parliament on Friday.

People from various hospitality or restaurant establishments marched in Roeland and Plein Streets on Friday to raise awareness about the industry's declining revenues amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

Some held signs with the words "#JobsSaveLives" and "#ServeUsPlease" on them.

UPDATE | 'You've been warned, disperse!' - Cape Town police get tough on tourism protesters

A photographer covering the event, Shavan Rahim, told News24 that the crowd probably grew to around 200 people before they were dispersed by public order police.

Rahim said the event was very peaceful, but that police officers he had spoken to, while they admitted they didn't enjoy using stun grenades, said they were under strict instruction to disperse the crowd.

"It was very peaceful. Everybody had masks on. It was all peaceful," said Rahim.

GroundUp photographer Ashraf Hendricks captured on video the moment that water cannons and stun grenades were used.

A spokesperson for the #ServeUsPlease protest, Ashleigh Perremore on Friday said that participants adhered to all measures to ensure safety protocols were followed.

'Social distancing'

"Everyone wore face masks, and maintained social distancing through the use of 1.5m ribbons between each person that indicated that distances were being kept. In addition, all groups were kept to a minimum size of 15 people," Perremore said in a public statement released.

She did however say the protest had not been given the green light, nor was it denied, after sending notice to city officials.

"The #ServeUsPlease movement notified both the Office of the President as well as the necessary city officials, however received no notification that the peaceful protest was not allowed.

"In the absence of a request refusal, we took this omission of refusal to mean that both the Office of the President as well as the City of Cape Town would allow a peaceful protest to happen."

Restaurants Association of South Africa (RASA) CEO Wendy Alberts told News24 that the march was not organised by the association.

They held a separate event in Johannesburg on Wednesday, where a memorandum of the sector's pleas was handed over to Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. She did not know the circumstances of the event, why the crowd was dispersed or whether it was deemed a gathering.

News24 reporter Murray Williams is on the scene.

UPDATE | 'You've been warned, disperse!' - Cape Town police get tough on tourism protesters

This story has been updated.

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