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Violence against women: South African police take to streets

Police in Pretoria, South Africa, protest against gender-based violence on October 14, 2019.
Police in Pretoria, South Africa, protest against gender-based violence on October 14, 2019. France 24

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“Men in blue, when it comes to gender-based violence we are in a dire state of emergency. Our concerted efforts to curb this scourge can wait no longer,” Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya, South Africa’s acting police commissioner, told the crowd of officers at the march in Pretoria on Monday.

In the past year, South Africa has seen an alarming spike in violent crimes against women. Around 3,000 women were murdered in the country in 2018, the equivalent of one every three hours, while the number of sexual crimes, including rape and sexual assault, jumped by 4.6 percent to more than 50,000.

Police have often been blamed for not doing enough to protect victims and catch perpetrators. But at Monday’s march demonstrators held placards aloft insisting they too are affected by the violence.

"It hurts us as police officers to pick up bodies of women, children & vulnerable groups on a daily basis,” one placard read.

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