Cape Town 31-03-04 Protestors burnt tyres in Elsies river protesting against a mans house who was taken down . They threw rocks at police who retaliated by shooting rubber bulletts , tear gas , stun grenades and a water canon was used to disperse the crowd Pic BRENTON geach

King William’s Town - Police in Sterkstroom in the Eastern Cape have arrested six suspects for attempted murder and malicious damage to property following community protests in which several houses, including that belonging to the mayor were damaged.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Namhla Mdleleni said: “Two groups in the community had disagreements with regard to local political matters. It is alleged that the quarrel started in town at about 13:00 on Tuesday and resulted in members of the public vandalising the Mayor’s House and proceeded to the township where they damaged eight private houses. Three were burnt down including that of the former Mayor.”

The six suspects ranged in age from 26-37 years.

Mdleleni said: “One male suspect, 35 years, faces a charge of attempted murder after he allegedly took out his firearm and fired shots randomly at a rival group. The other five suspects have been charged for malicious damage to property. The suspects will appear in the Sterkstroom Magistrate’s Court on Friday, facing charges of malicious damage to property.

“Local as well as Public Order Police have been deployed to quell the violence and to maintain peace and order in the town. The situation is still tense and police will continue with their presence until all has normalised.”

The Queenstown Cluster Commander, Brigadier Pumla Mavuka requested the Sterkstroom community to stop vandalising public property and endangering other people’s lives.

“There are other amicable ways of solving our differences, we cannot resort to violence. The police will arrest anyone who breaks the law and perpetrators will be prosecuted, “ she said.

ANA