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Namibia: Police Disperse Gender-Based Violence Protest

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Namibian police and the Special Reserve Force fired rubber bullets, teargas and used batons to subdue the unprecedented and three-day nationwide protest staged on Saturday by around 400 mostly young women – who raised their voices against gender-based violence and femicide on the streets of the nation’s capital city, Windhoek.

Slogans such as “no justice, no peace” could be heard from the chanting impassioned protesters.

Over the three-days since the start of the countrywide demonstrations _ which initially began on social media, then later took off in the coastal town of Swakopmund and in Otjiwarongo which is situated north of Windhoek.

The organised movement participants marched to government offices on Friday to demand the resignation of Doreen Sioka, the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare due to her perceived-problematic religious stance when handling matters pertaining to gender-based violence.

In addition to wanting armed response units and special training for police officers in the handling of cases pertaining to gender-based violence, the young social activists are calling on President Hage Geingob to declare a state of emergency over violence against women and female homicide.

Context

Windhoek receives more than 200 cases reported under the Domestic Violence Act on a monthly basis.

The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, contrary to many other parts of the world like France and the United States, saw fewer cases per month recorded in the city with 175 reported monthly, according to the Namibian police.