Police clash with ‘struggle kids’
Violent commotion broke out at Swapo Headquarters yesterday evening after young people born in exile fought Police who were instructed to remove them from the site they have been camping on for days.
In a dramatic confrontation, the ‘exile kids’ threw stones and cans filled with petrol, while others engaged in a dramatic physical fight with law enforcement agents.
“Kill us like you killed our parents,” shouted one of them.
About 200 young people born in exile, amongst them women with babies, have been camping at the ruling party’s Head Office for about two weeks demanding jobs from Government.
Police instructed them yesterday at 14h00 to voluntarily remove their belongings, a call they ignored.
Just after 16h30, police vans converged on the premises and officers started to physically remove them.
But the defiant ‘exile kids’ refused to move, despite repeated police calls and warnings.
Prior to the police arrival, the young people, clad in full Swapo colours sang chants demanding jobs.
The police first arrested the leaders of the group and threw them into vans amidst protests from their fellow supporters. And, in solidarity, some volunteered to join those thrown into the trucks.
According to Police Chief Inspector Hofni Kandjimi – the Head of State and Swapo Party President Hifikepunye Pohamba issued an order to remove the protesting youths.
Kandjimi told Namibian Sun that the Police will drop the ‘kids’ at the old bus terminal at Monte Christo in Okuryangava.
He said no charges will be laid against anyone.
“If they come back they will be charged with trespassing,” he said.
Before the whole commotion started, Kandjimi requested the ‘kids’ to remove their tents and blankets. “Leave this place - they don’t want you here,” Kandjimi told the “kids, the youngest of whom seeming to be 20 and the oldest possibly 35.
The protesters wanted to know where they will be taken to.
“Why are you telling us to leave without answers. This is our house,” one of them said.
Sylvia Shipingana, one of the protesters, stood and looked on as her mates were locked up in the police van.
“I feel very bad. This will not end here. We will call the kids in the North and all over to inform them what had happened to us,” said the 27-year-old orphan who was camping at the site with her two-year-old baby boy.
She added that she wants a job since she is getting old.
NamRights Executive Director Phil ya Nangoloh yesterday claimed in a statement that the Swapo Party Headquarters are a public place and the police had no right to remove them.
“Accordingly, we are calling upon the Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Sebastian Ndeitunga to intervene and instruct his subordinates to refrain from any violent action against the demonstrators,” said ya Nangoloh.