Police give AR demonstration go-ahead

12 Jun 2016 11:50am
WINDHOEK, 12 JUN (NAMPA) – The Namibian Police have given the go-ahead for the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement’s demonstration against a new Parliament building to take place on Thursday.
The agreement between the two parties comes after intense negotiations on Friday.
AR on 17 May informed the police of their intention to march against the construction of a new Parliament building at a cost of more than N.dollars 2 billion.
Last week however, a statement was issued by the Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol), Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, placing a restriction on all public demonstrations from 13 to 18 June 2016.
The decision was necessitated by security considerations as multiple international events are taking place during this period, the police said.
These include a State visit by Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee and the 31st plenary session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), which takes place from 13 to 15 June.
The JPA is expected to be attended by about 350 Members of Parliament from 28 EU countries and 79 ACP states.
The 16th Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup also started in Windhoek on Saturday and ends on 25 June.
“Intended demonstrations may proceed after 18 June 2016, following prescribed procedures,” a statement by the police read.
A joint statement issued by the AR movement and police on Friday however said AR filed an urgent application with the High Court on Friday. After negotiations with the police, they have indicated that they would withdraw the urgent application by Sunday.
“The parties have agreed that the AR mass action earmarked to take place on the 16 June shall proceed in accordance with the law. In the aforementioned understanding and clarification, AR herewith undertakes to withdraw the abovementioned urgent application on or before 12 June 2016,” the statement reads.
However, discussions pertaining to the venue of the demonstration are yet to be settled.
AR has previously indicated that demonstrations will take place at the National Assembly Parliament Gardens in the capital.
AR argues that the costs associated with the new parliament is a misconstrued reflection of the dire need and lack of infrastructure in Namibia such as schools and decent medical centres as patients are often forced to sleep on the floor, whilst learners attend classes in makeshift structures as opposed to descent school and hostel facilities, amongst others.
The drought and water scarcity is another pressing need.