Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cops Use Rubber Bullets to End Mashishing Protests in South Africa

Cops use rubber bullets to end Mashishing protests


Police used tear gas and rubber bullets on Wednesday to disperse protesters in eastern Mpumalanga in the latest violent demonstration over poor public services.

"They went on the rampage, it started last night," police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi told Agence France-Presse, adding that sporadic protests had broken out over the last two months.

Protesters blocked roads to Mashishing, 250km north-east of Johannesburg, late on Tuesday before burning tyres on Wednesday in front of the town's court, where a community leader was due to appear on charges of public violence.

"The police put out the fire and the tyres have been removed and they are chasing the people back to the township now as we speak, using tear gas and rubber bullets. Two people have been arrested this morning," Hlathi said.

Mpumalanga has seen a spate of service protests, with 500 residents rioting in Simile township near Sabie on Tuesday, stoning police and setting buildings and vehicles on fire.

In Thokoza, just south-east of Johannesburg, police on Tuesday also dispersed a group of residents who took to the streets after barricading roads a week after violent demonstrations.

The protests come three months after South Africans went to the polls, with mounting frustration over dire housing conditions and a lack of basic services such as water and electricity in the country's poorest neighbourhoods. -- AFP

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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