JOHANNESBURG, March 21 (Xinhua) -- South African police said that law enforcement officers through the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure have arrested more than 550 protestors as of Monday night for public violence, intimidation, damage to infrastructure, theft, and attempted looting during a national shutdown protest on Monday.
"In those arrested, Gauteng recorded the highest number of arrests with 149, the Northern Cape recorded the second-highest number with 95 arrests, the Eastern Cape also saw 80 protestors arrested, followed by Free State with 64 arrests," the South African Police Service (SAPS) said in a statement issued on Monday night.
The country's opposition political party Economic Freedom Fighters organized a national shutdown on Monday, with thousands of protestors taking to the streets in major cities to force President Ramaphosa to resign.
Law enforcement officers have also confiscated 24,300 tyres throughout the country, which were strategically placed for acts of criminality, the statement said. Protestors in South Africa usually use burning tyres to blockade roads.
SAPS Spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said the protests, especially in the country's administrative capital Pretoria, were peaceful.
Law enforcement deployments will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety and security of everyone in the country, Mathe said.