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Pretoria - Police officers armed with shotguns chased a crowd of protesting vendors in central Pretoria on Wednesday.
Tshwane metro police and the SA Police Service dispersed the protesters from Isivuno House, the municipal headquarters.
Shops and banks closed as the strikers, carrying sticks and stones, emerged from Lilian Ngoyi Street. The street was closed off, causing heavy traffic disruptions.
On Tuesday, a group representing the hawkers, the Tshwane Barekisi Forum, demanded a response to a memorandum of grievances it handed to the municipality. It claimed metro police were harassing its members and stealing their stock. The hawkers threatened to make the city ungovernable if this did not stop.
Tshwane mayoral committee member for economic development Subesh Pillay received the memorandum at Isivuno House.
The traders also want metro police to act against an officer they accused of shooting dead one of their colleagues in January. The forum alleges Foster Jan Rivombo, a vegetable seller, was shot dead for refusing to hand his stock to Tshwane metro police.
The forum says it has more than 1000 licensed members in Pretoria.