Picture: Kim Kay/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Kim Kay/African News Agency (ANA)

Protesters charge doors at WEF's Cape Town summit demanding a state of emergency

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Sep 4, 2019

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Cape Town – There were chants of "we want a state of emergency" and "shut down the country" as a group of protesters charged towards the doors of the Cape Town International Conference Centre, where the World Economic Forum for Africa is being held.

Protesters had broken through a barrier of police officers at the Heerengracht traffic circle and headed towards the CTICC, where many African leaders are among the delegates. 

Police later used stun grenades, pepper spray and a water cannon to try to deter the protesters. There were reports of a Cape Town student being arrested in the CBD.

South Africans have been outraged by the government's tardy response to end violence against women and children, with especially President Cyril Ramphosa's "limp" response on the issue yesterday being heavily criticised. Protesters wanted Ramaphosa to come and address them.

Earlier a group aligned to the Total Shutdown: Intersectional Womin's Movement Against GBV (gender-based violence) had staged a silent protest outside the summit. 

The silence hour ended at 10am and hundreds of students who had demonstrated outside Parliament later joined the WEF protest, disrupting traffic in the CBD. 

Protesters urged Ramaphosa to call a state of emergency as countless women and children have been brutally raped and/or murdered, among others, Uyinene Mrwetyana, Jesse Hess, Leighandré Jegels, Janika Mallo, Lynette Volschenk and Meghan Cremer.

Some protesters had their mouths taped and were dressed in black, demanding to know what concrete steps the government was taking to address the femicide.

One protester questioned: "How many bodies has there been before Uyinene? How many bodies have there been prior? The former president was charged with rape. This government has failed us... it continues to fail us." 

Another said: "We are dying each and every day. There is no budget for gender-based violence set aside in this country. What is their plan of action?" 

EWN reported that presidential special adviser on gender-based violence Dr Olive Shisana came to address the furious crowd. She said the government would prepare a strategic plan to address gender-based violence.

"Our team is still going around the country where we are consulting women on the strategy to fight gender-based violence. We cannot develop it within the Presidency without involving women all around the country."

Protesters, however, were seemingly not too impressed about what she said and some moved back to Parliament, where students had earlier heckled Minister of Police Bheki Cele.

Police used stun grenades, pepper spray and a water cannon to try to deter the protesters.  Video: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

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