On Monday morning, 87 individuals were arrested while protesting in South Africa.

The protesters were among the many South Africans who responded to the call by the opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) request for nationwide protests led by Julius Malema.

"Of the 87 arrested, 41 were arrested in Gauteng, 29 in North West, 15 in Free State. There are also arrests in other provinces such as Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape. Updates will be provided as and when information becomes available," police said.

PHOTO | COURTESY South Africa protests

Thousands of South Africans took to the streets on Monday in "National Shutdown" demonstrations as the country grapples with many issues, including unemployment, power outages, and outright graft.

Videos posted on Twitter showed demonstrators pouring into the streets in large numbers, despite claims that a large majority had arrived as early as 1 a.m.

In a video message over the weekend, Malema said, "On the 20th of March, we have to shut down this country to show the world that we are concerned about the state of affairs. We can't fold our arms," 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed support for the ongoing anti-government protests organised by Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party as long as they stay peaceful.

PHOTO | COURTESY Cyril Ramaphosa

On Monday, President Ramaphosa stated that everyone in the state has the constitutional right to assemble peacefully and unarmed, picket, and submit petitions.

The protests in south Africa coincide with those in Kenya on the same date. The central business district of the capital centre of nairobi was quiet most of the morning as business owners opted not to open their businesses.

Part of the statement said: "It is entirely within the rights of any individual or group to call for South Africans to join in protest actions freely.