South African soldiers trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus fired rubber bullets at hundreds of grocery shoppers in Johannesburg to keep them a safe distance apart, photos taken Saturday show.
The soldiers were deployed to a Shoprite in the Yeoville neighborhood, where a crowd of a few hundred had gathered outside the store, The Guardian reported.
Saturday was the second day of a 21-day imposed last week by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The shocking images show the tactic didn’t necessarily work — some scared bystanders huddled closer together in fear when confronted with the firearms.
“These are people who don’t have a good will, people who are doing exactly what they were told not to do,” Bheki Cele, minister of police, told The Guardian.
Soldiers wearing masks and gloves also patrolled Alexandra township in northern Johannesburg. Officials reportedly said 55 people were arrested there Friday.
South Africa has more than 1,100 confirmed coronavirus cases and has recorded one death.