South African security forces say 87 people had been arrested in the last 12 hours across the country over public violence before planned protests by the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party.
The EFF, the third largest party in the country, has called for a national shutdown to protest crippling power cuts and demand the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
“No one can stop a revolution,” EFF leader Julius Malema told supporters on Friday.
Ports, parliament, border crossings and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, among others, will be targeted as key protesting points, Malema has said.
The party draws heavy support among poor and working-class Black South Africans who feel left out of the country’s prosperity since the governing African National Congress (ANC) ended white minority rule in 1994.
Authorities said there would be a heavy police presence to deal with any possible violence.
The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) said in a statement that of the 87 arrested, 41 were in Gauteng, the province which includes the capital Pretoria and the main city Johannesburg, 29 were in North West province and 15 in Free State. There have also 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 soldiers 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.