By Jeffrey Moyo
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AA) - Some demonstrators protesting against youth unemployment in Namibia during the country's independence celebrations were arrested and detained by police on Tuesday after a high court judge stopped the protests.
The arrested included activists Michael Amushelelo and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma, who were detained at the Otjomuise Police Station in the capital Windhoek.
Their arrest followed the Namibian High Court’s dismissal of the protesters' calls for the demonstrations to continue.
The protesting youth proceeded with the protest despite a warning this week by the inspector general of the Namibian Police Force, Joseph Shikongo, that a national protest on youth unemployment was prohibited as Tuesday was a public holiday, asking them to reschedule the date of the protest.
Some 21% of Namibians are unemployed in the country which has a population of around 2.7 million.
Namibia has been celebrating its independence each year on March 21, since the country gained its independence in 1990, more than three decades ago.
But with corruption rising in the southern African nation led by 82-year-old President Hage Geingob, unemployment has been rife causing disaffection, particularly among the country’s young people.
Julieta Amushelelo, the wife to one of the arrested Namibian activists, Michael Amushelelo, said in a Facebook video post that her husband and his colleague Dimbulukeni Nauyoma were arrested illegally.
Following a high court ban on the protests, Juliet told reporters that the police told them that they should "go home."
“They started to block our way. They took Michael away and his colleague,” said Julieta.
Before being nabbed by the police, Michael addressed protesters, saying: “Today is Independence Day, however, we don’t feel like celebrating independence because over 1.2 million Namibians are unemployed and over 1.6 million people are living in poverty.”
A Namibian opposition parliamentarian of the Popular Democratic Movement, Inna Hengari, who joined the protests, was also arrested and taken to the Otjomuise Police Station.
But even amid the arrests, the spokesperson for the Namibian youth activists, Cume Mooin, said that as young people, they could not afford to celebrate their country’s independence since they did not feel free.
Mooin said in a video post on Facebook that they were frustrated as their children were hungry, and urged the youth to unite in fighting unemployment.
“Unity is the key, unite for the purpose and common interest on declaration of war against unemployment and poverty. Keep the faith and stand firm for a better future,” Mooin added.