Cops investigating Luthuli House unrest

2011-08-31 13:08

Johannesburg - No arrests have been made by Gauteng police in connection with the public violence that coincided with ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's disciplinary hearing in Johannesburg.

"We haven't arrested anyone," Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said on Wednesday.

Police had started an investigation, which included analysis of closed circuit television footage, he said.

Large groups of youths caused major streets in Johannesburg, including President and Sauer, to be cordoned off ahead of Malema's disciplinary hearing at Luthuli House, headquarters of the ruling ANC on Tuesday.

A policeman had to have stitches inserted after being hit by a rock.

Sexually threatened

At least seven journalists had objects thrown at them, while some female journalists said they had been groped and sexually threatened by the youths.

Metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said one person had been arrested while on his way to Beyers Naude Square and Luthuli House for overturning a dustbin. However, Dlamini said that there had been no arrests at all associated with Tuesday's events.

Police had opened a case of public violence and attempted murder and asked journalists who had been hurt to also make statements to the police.

On Tuesday afternoon, the ANC announced that it had changed the venue for the disciplinary hearings to a secret venue outside the CBD, out of consideration for CBD residents and businesses. By Wednesday morning, however, it had reverted to the Luthuli House venue.

No permission for the gathering in the CBD had been applied for on Tuesday, so the police's brief was to maintain law and order, Dlamini said on Tuesday.

"There were no disruptions except a few incidents of stone throwing."

Crowd control

On Wednesday, police officers, holding their riot shields, were standing in front of league supporters, who said more people were on their way.

A portion of President Street was closed after their arrival at Beyers Naude Square, which was still strewn with litter and empty beer bottles.

Meanwhile, DA spokesperson Kate Lorimer said the fact that neither journalists nor shopkeepers were protected seemed to indicate that either the police were slow to act, or did not have the capacity or capability to handle the situation.

"It is unacceptable that members of the public were not safe. Properly trained units need to be available to deal with crowd control in future," said Lorimer.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos
Read more on:    anc  |  ancyl  |  julius malema  |  johannesburg  |  protests

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