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Stun-grenade mishap at Church Square

Pretoria - In a comical sequence of events, a Public Order police officer almost injured himself and his colleagues while attempting to throw a stun-grenade into a group of protesting security guards on Church Square on Wednesday.

The security guards were demanding better wages, saying that they had been earning the same pay for the past 10 years. After a lengthy discussion between the protesters and police offers, the policing officer appeared to grow impatient.

People run for cover as a cloud of smoke covers the air after the police threw a stun-grenade intended for security guards gathered at Church Square. Photo: Masi Losi. Credit: PRETORIA NEWS

He pulled the grenade from its holster, unhooked the pin, only to realise before throwing it at the crowd that it had hooked on to a strap on his wrist. He tried to unhook it, succeeding only in throwing to his feet before it exploded.

Fortunately nobody was hurt but the blast had different reactions among the crowd.

While having the desired effect of dispersing the protesters, it also clearly frightened his colleagues.

Police also used a water cannon to disperse some of the demonstrators. SAPS spokeswoman, Sergeant Ann Poortman said five security guards were arrested for allegedly gathering illegally and would appear in court soon.

The guards, who are employed by the Protea Coin Group and Fidelity Security Group, claim that they were frustrated that their demands were being ignored by their employers. They said they had delivered three memorandums to the Department of Labour.

A protesting guard, Sefako Rasehashe, the department had not responded to the memorandums.

When the Pretoria News arrived at Church Square, the guards were sitting on the grass, refusing to leave.

The guards were later escorted by police to the Pretoria train station where they boarded a train.

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