Cops fire rubber bullets at protestors

2011-02-16 09:26

Police fired rubber bullets in the troubled township of Wesselton today after a man refused to take instructions from officers.

Protests against poor service delivery and lack of work entered day three at Wesselton, outside Ermelo east of Johannesburg, today.

Sapa reporters on the scene said three shots were fired into the ground as one “suspicious guy” refused to stop for officers who wanted to search him.

Barricaded roads, burning tyres, scattered shattered glass, uprooted streets signs and carpets of broken bottles and bricks littered the township streets.

Earlier today, people started gathering in small groups and residents threw stones at photographers when they started taking pictures of them setting fire to tyres. However, there were no injuries immediately reported.

Mpumalanga safety and security MEC Vusi Shongwe condemned the spate of violent protests.

“All citizens of the republic have rights, including the right by the media to collect news and broadcast them to the nation, therefore the attacks were unnecessary and perpetuated by people who are pursuing criminal activities,” Shongwe said.

Whatever problems the community had, damaging property and attacking people would not help with enhanced service delivery.

Media casualties included the e News team. Live television footage shown on the channel yesterday showed a group stoning a police vehicle then rushing towards cameraman Linge Ndabambi and reporter Jody Jacobs.

Both had to be treated for minor injuries. Their outside broadcast vehicle was badly damaged in the fracas.

National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele was expected to visit the area later this morning.

Yesterday, 89 people were arrested on public violence charges.

“Overnight it was quiet and there were no further incidents,” said police spokesperson Captain Carla Prinsloo.

Twenty of the 89 were between the ages of 15 and 17.

A strong police presence was monitoring the roads going in and out of Ermelo today.

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