Cop in critical condition after protest turns violent

Bloemfontein - A policeman is in a critical condition in the Bloemfontein Medi-Clinic hospital after being seriously injured when a protest march in the small Northern Cape town of Kakamas became violent.

Henk Lourens, a member of the police’s public order unit in Upington, had to be airlifted to Bloemfontein after being hit by a bakkie after protestors tried to drive into the Kakamas municipal offices.

“His condition is critical. He is in ICU, where he was put in an induced medical coma,” Medi-Clinic spokesperson, Reinette Oosthuizen, told News24. “Lourens is being treated for head and chest injuries."

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Donald Mdhluli said a group of upset residents marched to the municipal offices on Friday afternoon between 15:00 and 16:00 to hand over a memorandum to municipal manager, Gilbert Lategan.

“The municipality manager was not present to receive the memorandum and this infuriated the community. The community members started hurling rubble at Mayor Roy Olyn and the councillors,” Mdhluli said.

According to him, four people were arrested and detained on charges of attempted murder and public violence. The situation is now calm and the arrested persons will appear in court soon.

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