Lifestyle & Belief

Cape Town 'poo wars': 180 protesters arrested in South Africa


Two festival-goers pass a roll of toilet paper between toilet cubicles, during the 2004 Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, England. June 25, 2004.


Matt Cardy

At least 180 people were arrested on Monday, some carrying bags of human waste, ahead of a planned protest dubbed the "poo wars" over the lack of proper sanitation in Cape Town.

Some protesters managed to dump their bags of waste in local government offices before they were rounded up at a local train station.

It is believed they had planned to drop the excrement they were carrying at the city council and provincial legislature.

But this wasn't the first time demonstrators took to the streets to give the government a taste — and smell — of what is a real problem across all of South Africa.

Last week, raw sewage was thrown at opposition leader Helen Zille, the premier of the only province not run by the ANC, Western Cape.

The protesters accused Zille's Democratic Alliance (DA) government of not doing enough to provide proper housing and sanitation to townships, while the DA argued it does not have the money to provide these necessities to all of the region's residents.

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Former ANC councilor Andile Lili, who was removed from the party over a separate matter, was among those arrested.

"We are emptying our toilets there because our toilets have smelled for three months," he told South Africa's Eyewitness News.

The government has provided portable toilets to some inhabitants, but protesters have said they aren't good enough.

Lili added that the arrests have not put an end to their protests.

"This is a violation of a human's right to dignity. We have a right to dignity and we have a right to privacy," he said. "All those rights were violated by Helen Zille."