Thousands of women march in #TotalShutdown protest in Pretoria

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Pretoria - Thousands of women gathered in Pretoria on Wednesday as part of the countrywide #TotalShutdown, raising the alarm on violence against women, children and gender non-conforming people.

"We are tired of the rise in gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa. We are tired of the women's struggles being trivialised and just hearing that enough is enough statement. We want action, and we have actions," said one of the protest organisers Gaopalelwe Phalaetsile.

"We want to give those [action plans] to government and lawmakers, and say here are our 24 demands for the 24 years of democracy you haven't liberated us as women and gender non-conforming people. We are saying, we have the action plans. We can see that you [government] are struggling. We want to help you, and that is why we are here today."

She said there is no need for "women's celebrations" unless the nation is honest about the brutality that women and gender non-conforming people suffer in South Africa.

August marks Women's Month in South Africa and various festivities are held annually to pay tribute to the role of women in the struggle against apartheid, and in the current day society.

On Wednesday, the crowd of women was scheduled to march from Marabastad in Pretoria west to the Union Buildings, east of the city.

Rosa Paulo, who was assisting as a marshal for the crowd said she strongly felt that women need to know that they can find help in times of distress.

"Women get hurt by those who are supposed to love them. That is why I am marching today, to show women that it is okay to speak out because there is help out there," she said.

Tshwane Metro Police's spokesperson Isaac Mahamba issued a statement, urging the public to note the numerous street closures as the crowd moved through the city centre.

"Tshwane Metro Police officers will be deployed to monitor the march and all the affected streets. Motorists are advised to avoid the affected streets and use alternative routes such as Es'kia Mphahlele Drive, Dr WF Nkomo Street, Nana Sita Street and Visagie Street," said Mahamba.

The #TotalShutDown marches were also being held in neighbouring countries, including Lesotho and Namibia, where women and non-gender conforming people also took a stand against gender-based violence. – Nampa/ANA

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