Coastal residents demand an end to lockdown
06 August 2020 | Local News
Inspector Ileni Shapumba, NamPol “You have the right to protest and air your grievances, but this needs to be done in accordance with the law.”
Coastal residents once again took their plight to the streets.
Residents from Walvis Bay staged a protest against the ongoing lockdown and drove in convoy to Yianni Savva police station between the harbour town and Swakopmund.
The protestors are demanding that stage 3 lockdown be lifted in the Erongo towns of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis.
Armed with posters with slogans such as ‘Stop the lockdown’, ‘The lockdown is killing our economy’ and ‘End government payroll until lockdown is lifted’ displayed on their cars, coastal residents converged in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, with the aim to drive to the Yianni Savva police station where they intended to voice their dissatisfaction at the lockdown.
Those from Swakopmund who participated in the protest action were however stopped at the bridge by members of the armed forces and prevented from joining their Walvis Bay compatriots at the police station.
When residents from Walvis Bay arrived at the Yianni Savva police station, they had a lengthy conversation with the police, where it was explained that the convoy is illegal due to the fact that the procedure is in violation of the Covid-19 induced state of emergency regulations.
The protestors also did not have the relevant permission from the traffic department and the local police.
Inspector Illeni Shapumba, the commander for community affairs in the Erongo region, warned people not to test law enforcement officers.
“Everybody’s movement is restricted. This does not only apply to residents in Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis. Covid-19 is very serious and should be treated as such. The pandemic has changed our entire way of life. We need to discipline ourselves and realize that the only problem we have is with Covid-19. Only when we work together and take personal responsibility will we be able to fight this.”
Shapumba emphasised that demonstrations are not allowed during stage 3 regulations, as only 10 people are allowed to converge at a time.
“Under normal circumstances, when people want to demonstrate, they should inform the authorities. The local police needs to be informed of the exact details. If there is a petition that needs to be handed over someone needs to receive it. There are regulations to be followed. You have the right to protest and air your grievances, but this needs to be done in accordance with the law.”
He also pointed out that the traffic department should be notified of the protestor’s intention to drive in convoy.
“If that was not done, it comes down to a violation of the law. We need to make sure that everyone is safe. There are those that deliberately want to do things illegally. We cannot tolerate lawlessness.”
The convoy organisers were adamant that they are not demonstrating but trying to create awareness about the plight of the people in the region.
Ciske Howard, one of the demonstrators, compared the residents of Erongo to the so-called “struggle kids”.
“People are hungry, jobless and homeless. Businesses cannot rely only on the economy of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis. People need to be able to move to other towns. If the authorities start testing in other towns of the country, we are certain that the number of Covid-19 cases in those towns will skyrocket as well. We are tired.”
The organisers undertook to write the required letters for permission to the local authorities to ensure that their next awareness convoy is legal.
They are planning another drive on Saturday afternoon at 15:00.