'Unfounded' case against #TheTotalShutDown protesters closed – police

The case against the organisers of the #TheTotalShutdown march in Tshwane has been closed, police said on Monday.

A statement released by Rise-Up Against Gender-Based Violence earlier on Monday stated that the conveners of the march to the Union Buildings on August 1 had been charged by police for offences related to the march.

Thousands of women and gender non-conforming individuals had on the day marched against gender-based violence and femicide to various structures of government across the country.

"The national coordinating team of the #TheTotalShutdown is currently seeking legal advice, as our conveners had been instructed to hand themselves over to the police," read the statement.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole viewed the case against the women in a "very serious light".

Naidoo said at no stage was the police's management informed that the protesters had committed any transgressions in any way before, during or after the protest march.

Four cases opened against the police

"Therefore, SAPS (South African Police Service) management finds it surprising that a case of such a nature would be opened. In light of this, a decision has been taken to close this docket as being unfounded," said Naidoo in a statement.

Naidoo said allegations made by some of the protesters that they had been violated by police during the protest were also being taken very seriously by police management.

"At least four cases against police have been opened in this regard and these cases will be treated with the priority they deserve," he said.

READ: Ramaphosa personally addresses #TotalShutDown protesters, promises gender summit

Police and protesters taking part in the march clashed in Tshwane after officers allegedly forcibly tried to remove marchers blocking the road in front of the main entrance to the Union Buildings. 

A group of about 20 protesters blocked the road on the evening of August 1 and demanded that President Cyril Ramaphosa address them. 

Around 2 000 women had marched to the Union Buildings earlier that day to protest against oppression, gender inequality and gender-based violence. 

Once at the Union Buildings, Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor arrived to accept their memorandum. 

However, march participants booed her and said they would only hand over the memorandum to Ramaphosa.