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10 Oct 2020 | 02:36 PM UTC

Namibia: Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in Windhoek October 10

Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in Windhoek on October 10; avoid all demonstrations as a precaution

security
NAM

Event

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in Windhoek on Saturday, October 10, who had gathered to denounce gender-based violence. Reports indicate that hundreds of women participated in the demonstration which saw them march towards a main shopping mall in the capital. Police broke up the demonstration before protesters reached the shopping center and detained dozens. There were no confirmed reports of casualties, though demonstrators stated they had been assaulted by police.

Demonstrations were also reported in Walvis Bay on Saturday. Further associated demonstrations and localized disruptions are likely in urban centers in the near term. A heightened security presence should be anticipated and clashes between security forces and protesters are possible.

Context

Police discovered a body outside Walvis Bay on Tuesday, October 6, believed to be that of a woman who was reported missing on April 10. Gender-based violence activists have since accused the police of failing to commit sufficient resources to the case and properly investigate cases of missing women and gender-based violence. Activists launched a campaign on social media for President Hage Geingob to declare a state of emergency over gender-based violence. Following this, a wave of demonstrations have taken place beginning on Thursday, October 8, in Windhoek and other locations across the country including Walvis Bay.

Advice

Those in Namibia are advised to avoid demonstrations due to the risk of exposure to potential crowd disturbances and police crowd control operations. Travelers should monitor developments to remain apprised of protests and associated disruptions in their area and heed any directives issued by local authorities.

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