Johannesburg - A 40-year-old suspect will appear in Alexandria Magistrate's Court on Monday facing charges of public violence and damaging of infrastructure following a community meeting in Colchester, Eastern Cape police said on Friday.

Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said the arrest was made on Thursday night after an Integrated Development Plan (IDP) meeting at the Colchester Community Hall was disrupted by burning barricades set up at the entrance gates and incidents of stone throwing.

The man allegedly took a tyre to the N2 as part of efforts to the highway.

“The meeting started at 18:00 and just before 19:00, a group of about 200 local community barricaded the hall entrances at its gates with burning objects. Seven vehicles were damaged with stones and rocks thrown at them,” said Beetge.

Beetge said one Metro vehicle, a Nissan NP200 bakkie, also had a flammable object thrown inside the cab causing fire damage to the seat. Some of the windows of the hall were also shattered by stones.

“With the South African Police reaction to the incident, the Public Order Police Unit (POPS) had to use rubber rounds to disperse the stone-throwing crowd after their vehicles were also thrown with stones. POPS members forced open the gates in order to free the delegates that were trapped inside the hall.”

“By 21:00 some of the crowd moved to the N2 in Colchester where they attempted to close the road with burning tyres and objects and threw stones at passing vehicles. A further nine vehicles, including four trucks, were damaged by these stone throwers. SAPS managed to clear the road and keep traffic flow open,” said Beetge.

Beetge said due to darkness and some of the street lights not working, more arrests were not possible as the stone throwers made use of the dense bushes next to the road.

African News Agency/ANA