South African security forces said on Monday that 87 people had been arrested in the last 12 hours across the country for public violence in the run-up to the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party’s planned protests.
The EFF has called for a national shutdown to protest crippling power outages and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s resignation.
The poor and working-class Black South Africans who feel left out of the country’s prosperity since the ruling African National Congress (ANC) ended white minority rule in 1994 are the party’s main constituency.
Of the eighty-seven arrested, 41 were in Gauteng, the province which includes the capital Pretoria and the main city Johannesburg, 29 in were in North West province, and 15 in Free State, National intelligence body NatJOINTS said in a statement, adding that there has been arrests in other provinces such as Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape.
Parliament said in a statement on Sunday that the South African military would deploy 3,474 troops for a month until April 17 to prevent and combat crime in cooperation with the police.
“Law enforcement officers are on high alert and will continue to prevent and combat any acts of criminality,” NatJOINTS said.