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Farmworker strike volatile

Crime & Courts

De Doorns - The situation remained volatile in De Doorns, Western Cape where clashes between police and striking farmworkers continued on Thursday.

Several nyalas had been deployed to the N1 highway at De Doorns, with scores of riot police trying to defuse the situation.

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130109. Cape Town. Police patrol a road leading into De Doorns where protesters tried to set some vineyards alight. Thousands of people marched on the N1 high way during the protest. Police used gas, stunt grenades and rubber bullets to try and control the crowds. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

The highway was closed to traffic since the strike resumed on Wednesday.

Thousands of protesting workers taunted the police, pelting them with rocks.

Police fired rubber bullets in retaliation.

The Bawsi Agricultural Workers' Union of SA (Bawusa) claimed nine people had been injured by rubber bullets since Wednesday.

“Pat Marran, the ANC Boland chairman, was taken to hospital after being shot by private security,” said Bawusa general secretary Nosey Pieterse.

Pieterse said close to 6000 workers were on strike in De Doorns. Protests were also taking place in Grabouw and Wolseley.

On Wednesday, Lt-Col Andre Traut said 44 people had been arrested.

Workers went on strike last year, demanding that their daily wages be increased from R69 to R150, and a coherent land reform programme.

At least two people were killed in protests between August 27 and December 4.

The strike was suspended following an undertaking that negotiations would continue between workers' representatives and individual farmers, but this process proved unsuccessful. - Sapa

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