Coastal residents demand lockdown end

Residents of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund say they are fed-up with the lockdown and its accompanying measurers.

07 August 2020 | Local News

LEANDREA LOUW







WALVIS BAY

Walvis Bay residents yesterday staged a protest against the ongoing lockdown and drove in convoy to the Yianni Savva police station between the harbour town and Swakopmund.

The protestors demanded that the stage three lockdown be lifted in the Erongo Region towns of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis.

Those from Swakopmund who participated in the protest action were stopped at the bridge south of the town by members of the armed forces and prevented from joining their Walvis Bay compatriots at the police station.

Illegal

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 was in violation of the Covid-19 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 Erongo, 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 realise 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,” he said.

Shapumba emphasised that demonstrations are not allowed during stage three, as only 10 people are allowed to converge at a time.

Awareness

The convoy organisers were adamant that they are not demonstrating but trying to raise 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 permission letters to local authorities to ensure that their next action will be legal.

They are planning another drive on Saturday afternoon at 15:00.

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