Since March, material conditions have worsened significantly for most of the population. SA is well known for its protests, and in normal circumstances one might expect heightened conflict. Yet in practice most protests have been prohibited under state of disaster regulations and senior politicians have warned that marches spread coronavirus. So what is the reality of protest action under lockdown, and what is likely to happen in future?

Before answering these questions it is necessary to explain how we reached our conclusions. For 1997-2013 analysis of protests could draw on data released by the SA Police Service (SAPS), and this yielded a quantity and quality of information not matched anywhere in the world. For the period from 2012 statistics are derived from the international Armed Conflict Location & Event Data (Acled) project...

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