#TotalShutdown protests spread to Lesotho, Namibia

A woman participates in the #totalshutdwn march on August 1, 2018. Picture supplied by @WomenProtestSA

A woman participates in the #totalshutdwn march on August 1, 2018. Picture supplied by @WomenProtestSA

Organisers are calling on employers to allow women and gender nonconforming people to participate in the marches without financial penalty.

The #TotalShutdown marches have spilled over to neighbouring Lesotho and Namibia, where women and gender nonconforming people are taking a stand against gender-based violence.

Marchers in Lesotho have gathered at Setsoto Stadium and plan to march to the historical Sefika Sa Moshoeshoe in Maseru. In Namibia, the marchers are expected to gather at Katutura Hospital in Windhoek. Men are excluded from the marches, with organisers advising them to lend their support by staying away from work.

Women in South Africa, donning red and black, had started gathering across the nine provinces on Wednesday morning, ready to take part in the countrywide protest.

In Gauteng, marchers gathered at the old Putco bus depot in Pretoria at 9am.

They then moved from the Putco depot down Struben Street. They turned into Mandela Drive, then Madiba Street before reaching the front lawns of the Union Buildings, where they intend to hand over a memorandum.

The organisers have urged employers to allow women time off work to take part.

”We are therefore requesting the support of all employers to support this movement by allowing women and gender nonconforming people time away to participate in #TheTotalShutdown marches across the country without financial penalty,” said the organisers.

“Furthermore, we humbly request that all essential workers who must be at work on this day be permitted to take a break from 13h00 to 13h30 in order to participate in a national moment in solidarity against gender-based violence.”

Political parties and institutions such as the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Gender Commission have thrown their weight behind the #TotalShutdown marches across the country.

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