South Africa braces for nationwide protests

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JOHANNESBURG, March 20 (Reuters) – South African security forces said on Monday that 87 people had been arrested in the last 12 hours across the country over public violence ahead of planned protests by the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party.

The EFF has called for a national shutdown to protest crippling power cuts and demand the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The party’s main constituency are the 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.

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.

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