By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG (AA) — Thousands of opposition supporters in South Africa marched through the streets on Monday demanding the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Julius Malema, leader of the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, which called the protest, said they were tired of rolling power cuts, corruption, increasing poverty, and high unemployment.
"Our message is clear: Ramaphosa must go," he told supporters gathered at Church Square in Pretoria.
Malema, whose party is the third-largest in parliament, had called for a national shutdown in the hopes that it would bring the entire country to a standstill, though some businesses and taxi operators did not heed the call.
Protests were held across the country under tight security as the government had deployed some 3,474 soldiers to support the police in preventing and combating crime, fearing a repeat of looting and violent clashes that occurred in the country two years ago.
Earlier in the day, police announced the arrest of 87 people across the nation for public violence-related offenses linked to the protests.
Police Minister Bheki Cele told reporters in Johannesburg that the arrests were conducted in Gauteng province, which includes the capital Pretoria and the largest city Johannesburg. Other arrests were also made in the North West, Free State, Mpumalanga, and Eastern Cape provinces.
Malema said they were demanding Ramaphosa step down for alleged mismanagement of the country.