Protesters demand taxi drivers' release

2012-05-18 20:41
Durban - Police used teargas and stun grenades to disperse taxi drivers in Durban on Friday, on the second day of protests against the eThekwini metro police.

They retaliated when about 100 protesters - some wielding metal pipes, knobkierries, planks, pangas, fire extinguishers and hockey sticks - threw rocks at them.

A group of about 80 protesters also converged outside the Durban Magistrate's Court.

Spokesperson for eThekwini metro police, Superintendent Eugene Msomi, said the number of arrests were yet to be tallied, but presumed the figure was at about 15.

He said protesters had gathered at the court to demand the release of fellow protesters who were arrested on Thursday.

"Today we [arrested] public transport people intimidating other people until their friends were released."

Msomi said police had a meeting on Friday, and were confident the situation would be resolved.

SA Police Service spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said he would issue a press statement on Friday's protest, but instead sent one from the events of the first day of the protest.

Another five people were arrested for disturbances on the corner of Berea and Canongate roads.

Earlier, Eugene Hadebe, chairperson for the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance, spoke to the drivers, who then headed to the eThekwini transport authorities.

The clashes took place when they returned.

Prior to the clashes, police had stationed riot vehicles and a water cannon at Botha Gardens.

Police were attempting to negotiate with the drivers to disperse. The drivers claimed the metro police were unfairly targeting them.

On Thursday, police fought running battles with the drivers throughout the city centre. At least 20 people were arrested.
Read more on:    police  |  durban  |  transport  |  protests

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