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Violent, intimidating police action threatens human rights and democracy – ACTION Coalition

Violent, intimidating police action threatens human rights and democracy –  ACTION Coalition

The ACTION Coalition is deeply concerned by the violent and intimidating actions employed by Police to disperse demonstrating students on Wednesday, 8 August. The students were protesting the non-payment of tertiary education fees by the Namibia students financial assistance fund (NSFAF).

The conduct of the Police contingent on the day does not speak well of the level of professionalism in the force and its preparedness to deal with protests and demonstrations.

We wish to remind the Namibian Police and all government authorities that Namibians have a constitutional right to gather. They also have the right to express themselves. The actions of the Namibian Police on 8 August 2018, constitute a clear and present threat to the exercising of those rights.

Thus, the ACTION Coalition herewith condemns the Police resorting to violence and physical intimidation – so reminiscent of the way apartheid security forces used to deal with anti-apartheid demonstrations – of the demonstrating students, who by all accounts were peaceful throughout.

Secondly, and equally concerning, the ACTION Coalition wishes to draw attention to the issue of a trend emerging of Namibian Police responding especially overly aggressively in protest situations aimed at state and ruling party functionaries and facilities.

It is in light of this that we call on the Police force to resist and desist from resorting to unnecessary violence and physical intimidation, or its version or understanding of “minimum force”.

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