Johannesburg - Police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades on Friday to disperse protesting residents in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, police said.
“Approximately 300 to 400 people gathered and burned tyres outside the court in Alexandra, protesting about the suspects arrested for public violence last night,” Brigadier Neville Malila said in a statement.
He said police instructed the group to disperse, but they refused and barricaded streets.
“Police had to use stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, 44 people were arrested for public violence,” Malila said.
“More police and metro police were deployed in the area to contain the situation.”
Malila said later in the afternoon that the situation had abated and that the township was quiet but tense.
There was still debris and rocks in the streets, but the roads were now open, he said. No injuries were reported.
Earlier, the police said the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) centre in Alexandra was set alight by residents.
A room in a community centre that was used by the IEC was burned by residents on Thursday night, Malila said.
There were people inside the centre at the time of the fire, but no injuries were reported.
Thirty-one people were arrested for Thursday night's fire. Malila said the motive was unknown.
Both groups would appear in the Alexandra Magistrate's court on Monday.