Govt: Protesters used children as human shields

2014-02-05 18:10
(File, Sapa)

(File, Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Johannesburg - Protesters used children as "human shields" during an attempt to burn down a police station and municipal offices, the government said on Wednesday, reacting to escalating violence by residents of poor townships who complain that state services are inadequate or expensive.

Separately, a protester was fatally shot and another was injured in a clash between two groups of protesters in Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg, police said.

Demonstrators blocked roads with rocks and burning tires during a protest over plans by the provincial housing authority for a development in the area, said local mayor Greta Hlongwane, according to Sapa.

The upheaval follows a surge in protests in communities in other parts of the country where the state struggles to deliver services, challenging the ruling African National Congress party ahead of elections this year.

Police responded to some violent protests with deadly gunfire, drawing criticism from human rights activists who say a culture of lawlessness has taken root among some segments of the police.

Police in Gauteng have dealt with 569 protest marches in the last three months, Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba, the acting police commissioner, told Sapa.

He said 122 of the protests were violent and he urged the public not to be "armchair critics" of a severely strained police force.

A section of a municipal office building in East London was damaged by fire on Wednesday, Eastern Cape police said.

Only a small section of the building was damaged in the fire, allegedly started by striking municipal workers, Captain Stephen Marais said.

Demonstrators set several buildings, including a clinic, on fire on Wednesday in Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, to protest what they say are high electricity bills. There were no reported injuries.

Several dozen people were arrested in another violent protest in the area a day earlier. Last week, demonstrators there set a police station and other public facilities on fire.

The government referred to "a trend of using children as human shields during protests", citing an incident in which a group of teenagers led protesters who wanted to burn down a police station and other municipal offices in Bronkhorstspruit.

The use of children in such protests puts their education opportunities at risk, said Phumla Williams, a senior government spokesperson.

"This is a violation of fundamental human rights that may hinder children's development, potentially leading to lifelong psychological damage," Williams said in a statement. "We, therefore, urge parents who involve children in destroying public property and committing violence during protest to refrain from such behaviour."

Dozens of children, some in school uniform, were involved in protests in Bronkhorstspruit on Tuesday, and a public library was torched, according to The Citizen newspaper. It said one frustrated police officer shouted at the crowd: "You are burning your children's education. You are burning their books."

- AP
Read more on:    johannesburg  |  protests  |  service delivery protests
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
105 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

The route of the 2015 Absa Cape Epic has been announced and it promises to be as challenging as ever!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

4 exercise excuses and how to beat them
Watch: Insane road bike skills!
The most extreme journey ever?
Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong desire to be self sufficient, right and in control today. There is a tendency to hold on too tightly to your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.