In South Africa, on Saturday, the police shot rubber bullets to disperse several hundred people. They were gathered in front of a shop in Johannesburg and violated the lockdown measures taken by the government. With 1,170 cases of coronavirus infection and officially one death, South Africa is the worst affected country in Africa.
Some two to three hundred customers had been queuing up at the entrance of a supermarket in an impoverished neighborhood in the city center since Saturday morning. A photographer from the French press agency AFP noted that the regulations concerning social distance were being violated to a great extent.
The police arrived at the scene with several vehicles and opened fire with rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. The officers then put the line back together again and forced all the shouting people with the help of a whip to respect the prescribed distance.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently decided to put the country in lockdown for three weeks. In this way, he hopes to slow down the hard advance of the coronavirus in South Africa. Since Friday, the residents are only allowed to leave their homes to buy food. But in the more impoverished neighborhoods, it is challenging to enforce respect for the measures.
On the first day of the lockdown, the police already picked up 55 people. These were people who, among other things, were drinking alcohol in groups on the street. Minister Bheki Cele, who is responsible for the police, warned that residents who violate the measures would be severely punished.
“The war in which we find ourselves is not a war against the citizens of this country, but a war against a common enemy, the coronavirus,” Cele said. “Whoever breaks the law and chooses to join the enemy of the people will pay the price.”