Video: Police disperse marchers with water cannon

2011-08-19 00:00

WHAT began as a peaceful march in the city yesterday turned chaotic as police fired water cannons and pepper spray at striking marchers.

The strikers marched from Dales Park in Mayor’s Walk to the city hall, strewing rubbish in their wake.

Police tried to prevent the marchers from tossing rubbish bags on the streets and overturning rubbish bins, but they continued to snatch rubbish bags from under the noses of the police.

The turning point came when the marchers lit fires in Langalibalele Street. Police were given the order to disperse the marchers using a water cannon. They sprayed a jet of high-pressure, blue-dyed water that caused itching and skin irritation, according to the strikers who were sprayed with it. Some marchers were pepper sprayed.

A mother with a small baby was hit by a blast from the water cannon, staining her pram blue.

After they dispersed police officers picked up bins and cleared away rubbish to make way for motorists.

Asked whether any protesters were arrested, police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan referred all queries to provincial spokesperson Brigadier Phindile Radebe, who could not be reached as she had been involved in an accident on the N3 near Ashburton.

One of the striking workers was arrested during the handing over of a memorandum to Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela, but the reason was unclear at the time of going to print.

Before handing over the memorandum the KwaZulu-Natal chairperson of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union, John Dlamini, said their demand for 18% wage increase stands.

Ndlela is himself a former unionist. The strikers reminded him that he has been deployed by Cosatu to represent them in the ANC “and not to allow the ruling party to swallow him”.

Ndlela said, “In order for us to work on the issues we need to go back to the negotiating table.”

Watch the video:

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