16 February 2011

South Africa: Protests Continue in Ermelo

Pretoria — Angry protesters have again begun blockading all the entrances to the Wesselton township near Ermelo, Mpumalanga police said on Wednesday morning.

Protests broke out in the area on Sunday afternoon, turning violent on Tuesday. Residents blocked roads, threw stones at police, burnt tyres and damaged infrastructure. Police were forced to fire rubber bullets in a bid to disperse crowds. A camera crew was also attacked and their broadcasting van was vandalized.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Captain Leonard Hlathi said: "We've just received fresh information that they are starting to barricade the roads again, but we've since deployed a contingent team to closely monitor the situation."

Police arrested 80 more people for public violence yesterday bringing the total number of those arrested to 113.

Captain Hlathi confirmed that a 41-year-old man had died during the unrest. But police are still investigating the cause of his death.

Later today, Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele will be visiting the volatile township. Yesterday he deployed a large contingent of highly trained and seasoned crowd-management police officers to stabilize the area.

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