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Desperation drives mass protest

Desperation drives mass protest

Niël Terblanché

RESIDENTS of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay gathered at the Yianni Savva Police Station along the B2 Road between the two towns in protest to the continued lockdown that has decimated the local economy.

 

The protesters used their personal vehicles to drive in long convoys that snaked along both ends of the B2 Road as they left the two towns. The original plan was to converge at Long Beach but in the end, the two groups of residents met each other on the parking lot of the satellite police station.

 

People from all walks of life took part in the protest and displayed their posters on their cars and used their mobile phones to broadcast their protest live on social media platforms.

 

When the people disembarked from their cars to speak with one another, officers of the Namibian Police asked the group of peaceful protesters to disperse after informing them that they are in contravention of the regulations of the State of Emergency that governs the Local Authority Areas of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Arandis.

 

  • Residents Swakopmund Walvis Bay Yianni Savva Police Station B2 Road towns protest

 

The main concern of the residents of both towns is the detrimental effect that the continued lockdown of both towns had on the local economies.

 

The job losses that subsequently resulted have caused many people to fall on hard times. Hunger is now an everyday reality in most of the poorer neighbourhoods and most are relying on soup kitchens and other community-driven feeding schemes to survive.

 

One soup kitchen in Swakopmund managed to feed 20 000 children since the beginning of April but the resources of people and institutions that support the project are drying up and urgent intervention is needed to rectify the situation.

 

Some of the protesters repeated a request to the Namibian Government to make a decree that would see fishing companies donate part of their catches to households where hunger has already become a harsh reality.

 

Another person that participated in the peaceful protest indicated that he is a medical doctor and that the virus cannot be killed by any medicine.

 

“The only resource we have to fight the virus is healthy people. The best defence against the virus is exercise, nutritious food and sunshine. People that are able to work will be able to buy nutritious food. The continuous lockdown is robbing the residents of both towns of the best defences they have against the virus,” the doctor said.

 

When the Namibian Police intervened the protesters were informed to form a committee that would represent them and convey their grievances during a meeting with the Erongo Regional Governor.

 

Governor Neville Andre is currently hosting a high-level delegation from the central government that came for a fact-finding mission in the two towns that is hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

A week ago residents of Narraville in Walvis Bay also dispersed peacefully after the solution of an ad hoc committee was presented to them by authorities.

 

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