WATCH: Over 120 protests, some violent, erupt in Durban this weekend
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DURBAN - THERE have been more than 120 protests in Durban since Friday with several roads blocked and a number of shops looted.
This is according to Durban Metro Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad, who also confirmed that violent protests had also erupted in the city on Sunday morning.
Videos of looting incidents at shops in several areas in the city have been circulating on social media over the weekend.
Sewpersad said that some of the protests were very volatile which led to the Metro police officers closing some roads to protect motorists on Saturday night.
“We had to close a number of roads for motorists because if we had allowed them to go through; they would’ve stoned the vehicles,” he said.
Last night, it was alleged that a number of shops were looted around the South Beach areas.
Sewpersad said that this morning there were a number of supermarkets and hardware stores that were looted across the city.
He said they was a volatile protest on Sunday morning on the M19 and protesters blocked the road and looted the Checkers and other stores in Reservoir Hills Mall.
“They blocked the road and they went into the mall and started looting. The protesters targeted the shop while others also broke into the bottle store and stole liquor,” he said.
He urged the communities to stay on full alert as protest actions are continuing around the city.
In videos of the Reservoir Hills incident that have gone viral on social media, protesters can be seen looting the Checkers and leaving with trolleys full of groceries.
In another video of an incident in Mariannhill, protesters can be seen leaving the local hardware shop with sinks and other building materials.
Sewpersad said law enforcement were on high alert across the city.
IOL reported on Friday that although there has been no confirmation, provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele stated in an interview with SAfm, that the protests may be as a result of the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma.
Zuma handed himself over to police last Wednesday to begin a 15-month jail term for contempt of court.
On Thursday, The Mercury reported that protesters blocked both the N2 south and north at the uMvoti toll plaza by dumping loads of sand and rubbish on the road.
“We have attended to over 120 protests, demonstrations, road blocks and blockages since Friday. We have also called in more reinforcements from home, including members that were on rest days,”said Sewpersad.
He said police have been working in shifts of over 18 hours.
Describing the major protests in Durban, Sewpersad said the most extreme were in Umlazi and KwaMashu on Saturday night and the Reservoir Hills incident on Sunday morning.
He said seven people were arrested in connection with the protest and looting at the Reservoir Hills mall.
By midday on Sunday, Sewpersad said that while police were talking to staff at staff at Waterloo Spar, members of the Waterloo community had begun marching.
“I’m not sure how that situation is going to turn out,” he said.
He said Metro police have have put in place teams for proactive deployment, proactive responses and joint coordination to deal with the protests.