Journo caught in crossfire

2011-03-23 14:17

City Press photographer Lucky Nxumalo was injured when police opened fire with rubber bullets and birdshot on a crowd of protesters in De Aar, Northern Cape, last night.

Nxumalo was shot in the leg when police fired at demonstrators who were attempting to set up burning barricades in the streets of Nonzwakazi township.

A group of about 300 young people gathered in the centre of the township just before sunset yesterday.

They were protesting over the ANC’s nomination list for the upcoming local government elections.

They claim that the candidates mentioned in the nomination list forwarded by the provincial structures of the ruling party did not include the names of councillors who were nominated by local branches.

The gathering turned violent when the toyi-toying youths started burning tyres and setting up barricades in the middle of the township’s streets.

Police first tried to disperse the protesters by driving vehicles through the crowd, but this only seemed to agitate the protestors.

Police then opened fire with birdshot and rubber bullets. Nxumalo was hit in the left leg as he tried to take cover.

“I just felt something warm streaming down my leg. When I looked down I realised it was blood. I ran into one of the houses. The old woman in the house gave me a dish of water and a cloth to wash the wound.

“She was also worried about her daughter and grandson who were also in the group of protesters,” said Nxumalo.

“I think the police were confused because firstly they confiscated some of the tyres which the youth wanted to set alight. But the crowd was telling the police they don’t care about being arrested because they want their demands met.

“Some of the youth started throwing stones at the police which triggered the shooting,” he said.

Nxumalo received treatment at the local clinic, while police arrested 12 people on charges of public violence during the skirmish.

This morning, protesters marched to the centre of town where the accused were appearing in court.

The 12 were released on free bail and ordered to appear in court again on April 14. 

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