Johannesburg - The EFF in Gauteng has condemned the callous behaviour of the SAPS and the Correctional Services in refusing to release the arrested protesters from Monday’s demonstrations.
Following extensive police deployment for the protests, it is now clear that they were sent to provoke and arrest innocent protesters in order to excuse the wasteful expenditure of R166 million in deploying the army and reserve police, the EFF said.
"The state has now descended into an abyss of deceit and lawlessness as it infringes on citizens' rights to demonstrate as guaranteed by Section 17 of the Constitution," said Nkululeko Dunga, the EFF provincial chairperson.
He said that the continued arrest of peaceful demonstrators and their denial of the right to apply for police bail expose the state's willingness to infringe and tramp on the fundamental right to free expression, particularly on views that criticise and expose the state and corrupt politicians.
"From the first hour of the national shutdown until now, the EFF has been attending to cases of arrest related to the occasion.
“We have witnessed police and private security violence against citizens, as well as unrecorded wrongful arrests, abuses.
"This is an abuse of power by the state in an effort to further intimidate people from holding the government accountable through demonstrations.
"As we commemorate Sharpeville Day, where the black body was at the centre of disregard and easy disposal, this ANC government, through the Marikana Massacre, the brutal murders of Andries Tatane, Mlungisi Madonsela, and Katlego Monareng; now with the violent treatment of peaceful demonstrators, reminds us of the dark times in our history.
"We urge the ministers of Police, Justice, and Correctional Services, as well as Provincial Commissioner Elias Mawela, to immediately release the innocent citizens," Dunga said.
He added that the EFF Gauteng will hold pickets at police stations and courts in order to demand the release of the protesters.