Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Zero tolerance on the streets of Johannesburg under curfew

“Go home, I could arrest you for this”. #Weapon and baton at hand, the police stepped up checks on #Tuesday evening in the streets of #Johannesburg, to enforce the new restrictions linked to #Covid-19. The day before, #South #Africa gave a new turn of the screw to the measures imposed to curb the pandemic: sale of alcohol prohibited, masks compulsory throughout the country, curfew from 9:00 p.m. and until 6:00 a.m., bars and restaurants closed at 8:00 p.m. #Struck by a second wave with already more than 27,500 dead, it is the first #African country to have exceeded one million cases, for a population of 59 million.

#From 9:00 p.m., several dozen police cars crisscrossed the strangely quiet streets of certain disadvantaged neighborhoods of the megalopolis of nearly five million inhabitants. #Just before, authorities warned that they would apply “zero tolerance” on the first evening of the new curfew. #As the cars pass in the center, shadows slip by. A little girl and a boy pass furtively in the light of the headlights, the police get out of their car: too late, the figures have already disappeared. A little further on, ten police vehicles form a roadblock. “From 9:00 pm, nothing moves”, launches a policeman, the finger on his watch, to a driver of mini-bus taxi during a control. “Put on your mask,” he asserts before inspecting the interior of the vehicle. “#We search everything, in case there is alcohol,” he told AFP.

The ban on the sale of alcohol aims to reduce road accidents and violence, especially family violence, which further overload the country’s already exhausted hospitals. #President #Cyril #Ramaphosa criticized #South #Africans on #Monday for having “let their guard down” in the face of the virus, in particular with the organization of many end-of-year celebrations during this southern summer period. “We are now paying the price”. #Search, pat-downs, a grape shot of questions asked in #Zulu to the black driver, he finally got on board for not having respected the curfew. “These are going to spend the night at the station,” explains the agent, pointing to a van. “Some will be released tomorrow, others will be tried”. #Not wearing a mask in public places can now lead to prison in this country where a new variant of the virus, more quickly transmitted, is responsible for a large majority of new cases.

#At the same time, a homeless man loaded with plastic bottles and cans, a rosary around his neck, passes through the night. “Do you know what time it is? #Are you aware of the new restrictions? #What if I fined you? #You don’t even have the money to pay, ”a policewoman told him. #Slowly, the man pulls a grimy sequin mask out of his pants pocket and places it over his face. #With a wave of his hand, he picks up his garbage bag and walks away from the flashing lights.

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#tolerance #streets ##Johannesburg #curfew

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