Cape town traffic water cannon 1

Photo: Yusuf Abramjee / Twitter

Cape Town traffic brought to a standstill as water cannons fired at protesters [video]

Heavy-handed policing, or just doing their job? Cape Town traffic was a nightmare on Wednesday afternoon, as crowds were met with force during their protests.

Cape town traffic water cannon 1

Photo: Yusuf Abramjee / Twitter

There was a scene of utter bedlam outside of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Wednesday, as hundreds of protesters rained on Cyril Ramaphosa’s parade. The president was entertaining foreign dignitaries from the World Economic Forum, but they won’t have been pleased with what they were seeing.

Why protesters gathered at the CTICC

Protesters were demanding to speak to Ramaphosa, or at least get an address from the head of state. The crowds descended upon the CTICC to ram home their message about fighting femicide and protecting the women of this country, following a spate of high-profile gender-based murders.

As of 16:45 on Wednesday, Ramaphosa had not acknowledged the bustling crowds outside. His attempts to portray South Africa as an ideal investment destination and a major player on the global stage would have been hampered by the chaos outside, that was only exarcerbated by heavy-handed policing.

Watch police fire water cannons at protesters in Cape Town here

Not a great look for Cyril Ramaphosa at the World Economic Forum

The SA Police Service (SAPS) turned their water cannons on the scores of protesters, sending them scampering through the city’s CBD. They returned to voice their discontent once more, spilling onto the N1 highway which connects Cape Town to the rest of the country. This caused something of a gridlock earlier:

Cape Town traffic latest for Wednesday 4 September

Traffic was disrupted for several hours throughout the day, but most of the commotion has been quelled heading into the afternoon rush hour. However, the roads leading to and from the CTICC are still vulnerable to disruption and congestion, given the large delegations travelling to and from the destination.

The N2 inbound at New Market was also closed for a brief period of time on Wednesday, but it’s now re-opened after protesters were shifted on. In total, eight people have been arrested for their part in the anarchic demonstrations. A minor has also been apprehended, but was released shortly afterwards.

Apart from a small disruption further up the N1, all roads heading in and out of the city have been cleared.