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#OccupyLuthuliHouse: ANC says security precautions not unreasonable

Security officials outside Luthuli House are on high alert ahead of a march to the ANC's offices.

Security has been tightened outside and around Luthuli House ahead of Occupy Luthuli House demoNstration on 5 September 2016. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) says its decision to heighten security outside its headquarters in anticipation of the Occupy Luthuli House demonstration today is not unreasonable.

While protesting ANC members are expected to start gathering at Beyers Naude Square at this hour, security officials outside Luthuli House are on high alert.

Organisers have urged members of the public not to join today's demonstration due to safety concerns.

The ANC's Khusela Sangoni says initially the protest was not presented as a peaceful movement, prompting the deployment of more security.

"It was about occupying Luthuli House, it was not a peaceful demonstration to Luthuli House to just present their grievances and obviously with the threat of occupation like have been made, it's not unreasonable for the ANC to seek to protect Luthuli House in the sense."

But she says the party hopes for peaceful proceedings.

The ANCWL's Moekgo Matuba says this is a cheap political stunt and their members will be at Luthuli House to defend the ANC.

"We'll not allow them because they will find us there in Luthuli House waiting to defend the African National Congress. I don't want to be misquoted, defending the African National Congress and defending our revolution."

Meanwhile organisers of the Occupy Luthuli House Campaign say they will forge ahead with their demonstration outside the ANC's headquarters today but have urged members of the public to stay away.

Following warnings and threats against the protest, organisers say they don't want to endanger the lives of ordinary South Africans.

Security has been heightened around Luthuli House ahead of today's demonstration which calls for the resignation of President Jacob Zuma.

The movement also wants the entire ANC National Executive Committee to step down.

Organiser Gigu Ndima says she and other party members who will be protesting are ready to put their safety on the line.



"We're going to continue as organisers and as ANC members but we're urging the public to stay away because we wouldn't want to see people getting hurt unnecessarily. So if anyone has to take a bullet today it will be ANC children going to ANC headquarters."

The ANC's Khusela Sangoni has called on those in favour of the campaign and those opposing it to maintain order.

"We're calling on the organisers of Occupy Luthuli House and those that have said that they're going to defend Luthuli House, for both sides to exercise maximum discipline, maximum restrain because there's absolutely no need for these concerns of violence that have been raised."



POLICE DEPLOYMENT

More police officers have been deployed around Luthuli House with members of the public now making stops along the street to witness what's happening here.

Several people clad in ANC regalia and waving the ANC flag were seen around here-but they have now moved to Beyers Naude Square where demonstrators are meeting.

There have been concerns of safety after the ANCYL and Women's League vowed to meet with the protesters here to quote defend the movement.

By one of the organisers of the occupy Luthuli house campaign Bonolo Ramokhele says they are simply coming in peace.

The men in military clothes are still guarding Luthuli House, it seems they won't be allowing anyone to come closer to the building even later when demonstrators arrive here.

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