Watch: Police raid mosque, arrest men for gathering during Ramadan
A video circulating on social media shows police storming into a mosque to arrest a group of men for violating the lockdown regulations.
A video, circulating on social media on Saturday 25 April, shows up to six police officers storming into a mosque to arrest a group of men who were praying. The video caption says the incident took place at a mosque in Pretoria West.
In the video, it looks as though there could be up to 20 men praying together in close proximity — therefore a direct contravention of the lockdown regulations — which prohibit public gatherings.
This comes as Muslims enter the sacred and holy period of Ramadan where they will fast for one month until Eid. The period started on Thursday 23 April and will end on 23 May.
Watch: Police arrest praying men in mosque
Here’s what can be seen in the video
In the video, police officers, with masks and other protective gear can be seen entering a mosque.
Once inside, police officers call for a group of about 20 men to get down flat on the ground, which they willingly do. Police start shouting “you are all under arrest, you think our president is crazy”.
One officer said: “you are under arrest for contravening the COVID-19 regulations”.
Another officer asked a man on the floor if he thought he was bigger than the president, to which the man answered no.
The video ends there, however, the caption says that at least 17 men were arrested from the mosque.
The South African contacted police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo for comment but he did not respond at the time of publication.
Ramaphosa sends message to Muslims celebrating Ramadan
Ramaphosa made a video, wishing Muslim’s all over the world well during the holy period.
“During this month Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset and engage in acts of devotion and charity. Ramadan is a time for reflecting on the values of humanity, simplicity, sacrifice and solidarity,” he said.
Ramaphosa, however, said it is still important to observe the regulations to curb the spread of the disease, although difficult.
“Sadly it will not be as it was last year. Many of the Ramadan traditions like praying at a mosque, making the Umrah pilgrimage and visiting family and friends are not taking place,” he said.
“If we are to prevail against this pandemic we have to stand united and observe the provisions that are in place to safeguard our own health and the health of others,” he added.
This is a developing story — updates to follow.