92 held in Namibian taxi protest

Windhoek – Namibian riot police arrested 92 taxi drivers on Tuesday after being pelted with rocks while breaking up a violent protest against increased traffic fines in which six officers were injured.

“Police arrested 90 taxi drivers today, two others were arrested for carrying firearms and shooting in the air during an unauthorised protest march today,” deputy safety and security minister Erastus Uutoni told reporters.

“Six police officers were injured while breaking up the illegal march.”

Rocks were thrown at the police, whom local media reported fired rubber bullets at marchers who took to the streets over a drastic hike in fines last month by authorities to curb rising accident rates.

Commuters were left stranded in the capital with only a fraction of the city’s 4 000 registered taxis operational.

The Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (NABTA) had planned countrywide protests for Monday but called them off on Sunday and said the marchers were not their members.

“They pulled taxis off the streets and dragged passengers out of taxis forcing working taxi drivers to join the illegal protests, that is bad,” president Magnus Nangombe told reporters.

Hundreds of drivers also held protests on Monday.

Information Minister Joel Kaapanda told reporters on Tuesday that the new fines “are for all (road users) violating the laws and will remain in place”.


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