Police launch stun grenades at ANC supporters‚ halt DA march

Khulekani Magubane

POLICE launched stun grenades and fired rubber bullets on Wednesday (12/02/2014) at African National Congress (ANC) supporters who confronted Democratic Alliance (DA) supporters during the opposition party’s “march for real jobs” in central Johannesburg.

Police stopped the DA march‚ saying it would be too dangerous. About 100 officers descended on the street to try to restore calm.  A spokesman said four people wearing ANC T-shirts had been arrested for public violence.

A group of people dressed in ANC attire threw petrol bombs at police officers near the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.

The DA marchers stopped at Marshall Street as per restrictions placed on their march.

At least 12 stun grenades were used and two rubber bullets fired. The violence resulted in DA supporters being rerouted back to the Westgate Transport Hub.

The DA supporters moved away from Marshall Street‚ close to the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters‚ as ruling-party supporters confronted them. The police‚ as well as marshals from the ANC and the DA‚ battled to contain the situation as the ANC supporters continued to pursue the DA crowd.

DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane told reporters that members of the ANC had thrown stones at them.

Earlier‚ DA leader Helen Zille accused the ANC of gathering with rocks and bricks at Beyers Naude Square in Johannesburg without permission.

“Police have not stopped them and they are armed with bricks‚” she told reporters at the Westgate Transport Hub. “They’ve gathered in large numbers without police permission.”

The DA march over “real jobs” was scheduled to end at Beyers Naude Square‚ roughly a city block from Luthuli House‚ where the party was to submit its memorandum document to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

A barbed wire fence was erected between the ANC headquarters and Beyers Naude Square.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte earlier on Wednesday told supporters the DA should meet the ANC in Parliament.

“This (Luthuli House) is not the seat of government‚ it’s the headquarters of the ANC‚” she said‚ adding that the ANC would not provoke anyone. “We are disciplined cadres of the movement.”

The ANC sought a protection order on Wednesday morning‚ citing suspicions that the DA marchers were looking to threaten their security and safety and because the DA had secured the services of a security firm “armed to the teeth” with batons‚ helmets and shields.

South Gauteng High Court Judge Phineas Mojapelo did not grant the order‚ finding it unnecessary as the DA had committed not to go directly to Luthuli House. © BDlive 2014. With Sapa and Karl Gernetzky



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