Stampede mars democracy party

2004-04-27 21:22
Pretoria - At least 15 people were treated in Pretoria Academic Hospital after they were injured in a stampede at the inauguration concert at the Union Buildings on Tuesday.

About 45 000 people attended the concert.

At least two media photographers were caught up in the stampede and equipment worth thousands of rands was stolen in the process.

It is still unclear what exactly happened, but eyewitnesses say officials on the stage lost control over the crowd and people pushed to the front when the barricades around the stage collapsed.

Several children were among those squashed against the barricades.

Dr Andre van der Walt, superintendent at Pretoria Academic, said 15 people were treated for injuries, but none of these injuries were life-threatening. A few people had broken ankles and arms.

A photographer from Time lost a lens worth about R13 000 after she was pinned to the ground.

Antoine de Ras from Rapport managed to hold on to his camera as he was lifted from his feet, but his cellphone and wallet were stolen.

De Ras claimed most of the officials fled when the stampede started.

Felix Dlangamandla, a photographer for Beeld, said he saw a few police officers and officials pulling people over the security barricades to prevent them from being crushed.

William Baloyi, spokesperson for the Tshwane metro council, said the concert was interrupted for a while to bring the situation under control.

The council tried to ease the throng by announcing that busses would start leaving to take tired visitors home.

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