Tatane cops to apply for bail

2011-04-29 09:35

A small crowd of protesters has braved the chilly early morning minus two degrees celcius temperatures of the eastern Free State to protest outside the Ficksburg Magistrates Court where eight police officers arrested in connection with the assault and murder of community leader Andries Tatane are expected to apply for bail.

The voices of the chanting and singing protesters broke the serenity of the border town as they walked from the nearby township of Meqheleng to gather outside the court building at the corner of McCabe and Voortrekker streets.

The court building is situated under 100 metres from where Tatane died after he was assaulted and shot by police officers a fortnight ago.

Police contingents from the public order policing unit are also keeping a strong presence in the town, with armoured vehicles parked not far from the spot where Tatane collapsed and died.

However, police have kept their distance from the crowd, which is continuously swelling by the minute, probably to avoid inciting the protesters.

Earlier, some of the protesters hurled insults at a passing police vehicle while some jeered at a uniformed officer carrying a take-away meal, calling him a killer.

Some of the protesters are dressed in white T-shirts bearing a picture of Tatane in the front inscribed with the words “long live Andries Tatane”.

The words “A dedicated community leader who sacrificed his life for a just cause” are inscribed at the back. The T-shirts were printed ahead of Tatane’s funeral in the town last weekend.

The protesters are singing songs and slogans opposing bail and condemning police brutality. Some were carrying placards written “I hate police”.

Police spokesperson Captain Phumelelo Dlhamini says the situation is calm and there have been no incidents reported so far.

The bail hearing is expected to resume at 12pm.

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