File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – A 56-year-old woman is fighting for her life in hospital while 81 suspects arrested in connection with last week's violent protests in Plettenberg Bay are due to appear in court. 

Haydee de Doncker, from Port Elizabeth, sustained serious head injuries during protest action on the N2 in Plettenberg Bay, the George Herald reported. 

She and her husband were on their way home after holidaying in Gouritsmond when a brick hit her in the head while in the passenger seat.

Her daughter, Erin Burns, said: "They are protesting for service delivery, housing and other things, and then innocent people have to pay the price. What did they achieve?

Police spokesperson Chris Spies said due to the fact that it's such a large group that were arrested, their appearance in the local magistrate's court was delayed, the SABC reported. 

The suspects were arrested following protest action by residents of Qolweni over service delivery issues and the removal of certain councillors. 

They face charges of public violence, burglary, housebreaking and theft, as well as malicious damage to property. Damage to infrastructure in the town and the looting that followed is estimated at millions of rand.