Police fire rubber bullets at Walmer township protesters

Gareth Wilson

Police fired rubber bullets, teargas and stun grenades at Walmer township protesters this morning (30/05/2010) to prevent them crossing Heugh road and again used rubber bullets after members of the crowd threw stones at officers attempting to put out fires in Heugh road at about 2pm.

“In retaliation the residents threw three petrol bombs at the approaching police,”  police spokesman Captain Stanley Jarvis said.

“As of now, a final warning has been issued for the residents to refrain from blocking the road.”

Early this morning (30/05/2010) about 3000 protesters gathered on the outskirts of Walmer township on the second day of violent service delivery protests. 

Angry residents – who are demanding housing, electricity and water – had already petrol-bombed the Ward councillor’s office.

They also  assaulted a security guard at a Victoria Drive business  before setting the premises on fire. They then prevented emergency services vehicles from getting through.

Protesters were  blocking Community Road, Victoria Drive and Heugh Road – between 8th and 10th avenues – since 6am. Traffic and police officials advised motorists to use alternative routes.

Police confirmed that seven people had already been arrested for public violence and damage to property.

According to Captain Jarvis, two police officers were wounded during the earlier protests.

“An officer sustained a broken arm after angry protestors hurled a log at her while she was redirecting traffic away from burning tyres in the road. Another officer was hit by a brick and taken to hospital,” he said.

The municipality, police and community leaders from Walmer Township met to try and defuse the situation.

‘At the moment we have got about 100 police officers on the scene, some armed with shotguns. A water cannon has also been brought into the area,” said Jarvis

“If it escalates we have called in reinforcements to deal with it. The officers are only able to use any force on command of the officer in charge of the scene.”

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