More than 100 community health workers were arrested in Bloemfontein on Thursday morning for staging a sit-in at the health department, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) said.
“The TAC condemns the police for the excessive use of force in arresting the peaceful protesters,” said general secretary Anele Yawa in a statement.
The community health workers and TAC members, who were mostly older women, took part in a vigil in an attempt to “speak out against the failings in and collapse of the Free State health system,” Yawa said.
The vigil was staged after health workers failed at attempts to meet with the province's health MEC Benny Malakoane.
Yawa said they had previously demanded a meeting with Malakoane following a sit in at Bophelo House on June 27.
She said the vigil was part of a campaign to remove Malakoane from his position.
The TAC had also sent an urgent request to ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe for an urgent meeting to demand intervention in the Free State's “collapsing” health department.
Community health workers have also been protesting the termination of their contracts and demanding that they are paid.
Police were not immediately available to comment. - Sapa