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Johannesburg - Using children in protests violates their human rights, acting Government Communications and Information System head Phumla Williams said on Wednesday.
Government was concerned that there seemed to be a trend of using children as human shields during protests, she said in a statement.
“This is a violation of fundamental human rights that may hinder children's development, potentially leading to lifelong psychological damage.
“We, therefore, urge parents who involve children in destroying public property and committing violence during protests to refrain from such behaviour.”
A number of teenagers allegedly led a group of Bronkhorstspruit protesters who wanted to set a police station and municipal offices alight. Residents have been protesting since Thursday about the high price of electricity.
Williams said when children participated in protests it placed their education in jeopardy.
“While every citizen has the constitutional right to protest, it is unacceptable when property and valuable public infrastructure are destroyed during protests.”