Protesters’ anger is being misdirected at police – Riah Phiyega

2014-09-03 08:37

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Police will not hesitate to act when they are being attacked or when property is being destroyed, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega has said.

She said protests like those near Ennerdale in southern Johannesburg, Ganspan in the Northern Cape, Mbilwi village in Limpopo as well as in Nyanga and Mfuleni in the Western Cape, were examples of when police would take action.

Phiyega said the incidents were disturbing because police were being targeted by mobs while conducting their work to maintain law and order during protests.

“Often, whenever police request protesters to disperse or desist from engaging in illegal conduct, they are pelted with stones and sometimes with petrol bombs,” she said yesterday.

“Although it is our belief that the community has a right to protest as enshrined in the Constitution of this country, the concern is that these communities’ anger is being misdirected at the police.”

She said it could not be allowed that officers were attacked by bad elements within communities who were barricading roads, destroying property and endangering their own lives and those of others around them.

Phiyega appealed to communities to refrain from attacking police, and to embark on protest action in a peaceful manner while understanding that police presence during protests was for the community’s safety.

“The last couple of days have been very difficult for our public order policing members.

“We thank our members for staying professional even in a situation where they were pelted and attacked with stones, generally displaying extreme levels of restraint,” she said.

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