Protesters set fire to train station in Paarl

2015-04-24 10:47
An image of the burning train ticketing office in Mbekweni, Paarl. (Paarl Breaking News, Facebook.)

An image of the burning train ticketing office in Mbekweni, Paarl. (Paarl Breaking News, Facebook.)

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Paarl - The ticketing office of a train station in Mbekweni, Paarl was burnt down on Thursday night during a protest by residents over demands for electricity.

Police were deployed from the surrounding areas to handle the situation at about 19:30, Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut told News24 on Friday.

“Police took action to defuse a riotous situation in Mbekweni when protestors set the ticket office at the railway station alight and also threw stones at vehicles during an apparent service delivery related matter,” Traut said.

“The circumstances surrounding the public violence are being investigated and arrests have yet to be made.”

The situation has since been restored to normal, Traut added.

A spokesperson for the Drakenstein fire services, Dereck Peceur, told News24 on Friday that fire officials were not deployed to the area due to safety concerns, after the unrest turned violent and required police intervention.

Peceur said gunshots were heard by witnesses close to the scene, but this has yet to be confirmed by the police.

According to eNCA, crowds had barricaded roads with rubble and stones during the protest.

It was reported that the unrest started on Wednesday, and flared up again on Thursday night.

Eyewitness News tweeted on Friday that Metrorail services in Paarl, Wellington and Worcester have been disrupted as a result of the protest.

Trains operating between Cape Town and Wellington will terminate at Huguenot Station, and alternative public transport has been arranged for commuters via bus services.

The Drakenstein municipality was in the process of drawing up a statement at the time of writing, spokesperson Martmarie Haasbroek told News24.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime  |  protests

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