WALVIS BAY- Special Reserve Force members rapidly descended on the central business district of Walvis Bay after a peaceful protest that demanded justice for the late Shoprite worker, Fabiolla Zondjembo, took a dramatic turn on Friday.
The Special Reserve Force (SRF) fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters after a standoff ensued at the Walvis Bay police station in the town shortly after the arrest of
political activist, Michael Amushelelo.
The Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters' (NEFF) activist was arrested after he directed a funeral service to transport the remains of the late Zondjembo to the Shoprite parking area.
The request was for the deceased’s colleagues to pay their last respects.
The group of protestors was initially allowed 10 minutes, but refused to vacate the premises after that.
Police officers monitoring the situation directed the funeral hearse driver to leave the scene, but Amushelelo switched off the engine, whereafter he was arrested in the parking
“Where are you taking him? We are protesting for our sister. Shoprite managers must come out and see what they have done. We want justice for Fabiolla,” shouted some members of the angry crowd which had gathered while demanding Amushelelo’s release. They then followed the police van to the police station while shouting.
We are not against you
Namibian Police inspector Ileni Shapumba tried in vain to calm down the angry protesters at the police station, and urged them to leave within 30 minutes.
“We understand your problems, but we want you to listen to us too. You are demanding justice, and indeed justice will be served. We are not against each other, and we should work together at all times. I want you to prepare yourself for the next 30 minutes, and then you must allow the police to also do their job,” Shapumba urged shortly before the
police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Shapumba said Amushelelo is charged with failing to comply with instructions or directions of an authorised officer, obstruction, and hindering and interfering, thus preventing an officer from performing his duties.
He further noted that Amushelelo interrupted the free and proper passage of traffic at Walvis Bay.
“The suspect organised a peaceful demonstration and while being escorted, he allegedly unlawfully and intentionally decided to have a gathering on the public road, which resulted in the interference as well as obstruction of the free flow of traffic, and refused to move to the designated area of the gathering, “Shapumba added.
Amushelelo is expected to appear in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court today.
Meanwhile, speaking from the police holding cells on Saturday, Amushelelo urged Walvis Bay residents to go out in numbers to support the protestors.
“It should be understood that it is through unity that we can achieve greater things and liberate the Namibian people from oppression, exploitation, intimidation and discrimination. No amount of police brutality nor intimidation will make us back down,” he charged.
The group of protestors returned to Shoprite on Saturday, where they continued with their demands.