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Johannesburg - Public violence charges against 28 Durban Deep protesters were dropped in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Friday.
“The charges have been dropped due to lack of evidence, but they could be reinstated if the State has new evidence,” said James Human, for the protesters.
The 28 were arrested on Thursday morning during violent protests at Durban Deep, on the West Rand, to protest against an eviction order and a lack of housing.
As they walked free on Friday, residents of Durban Deep sang:
“senzeni na” (what did we do?).
One of the protesters, Banyana Difatlhe, 62, said she was arrested on Thursday while sitting under a tree on Randfontein road.
“I was sitting when a female police officer came to arrest me. She was pushing me around as if I committed a crime,” said Difatlhe.
She said she was deeply hurt about what police did to her.
Residents promised to protest outside the court on Monday, at the appearance of four police officers accused of killing one of the protesters, Tshepo Babuseng. They were arrested in the early hours of Friday.
Babuseng, 28, was shot dead, allegedly by a policeman, after protesters surrounded a police officer's car on Thursday.