PICS: PE residents protest against demolition of shacks on contested land
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PORT ELIZABETH - Some 300 residents of Port Elizabeth on Thursday set up burning barricades across the M14 at Izinyoka, Kwadwesi leading to Kleinskool, as well as the R75 in protest at the demolition of shacks.
They were aggrieved at the Nelson Mandela Metro land invasion team for breaking down housing structures at Izinyoka.
Police spokesperson, Captain Andre Beetge said the special operation started at about at 9pm on Wednesday, but by 1am on Thursday angry residents started barricading the Old Uitenhage Road and M14 with rocks, rubble and burning tyres.
“On arrival of SAPS Public Order Police Unit (POPS), police were thrown with stones while they cleared and opened the roads again. A public violence case was opened by police for this incident.
“By 5.30am these protesters also blocked the R75 with burning rubble and tyres and POPS again needed to intervene and open the road. By 7.30am, the M14 was once again closed off by the protesters with rocks and burning tyres, but the R75 was opened for traffic between PE and Uitenhage.”
Beetge said a group of about 200 to 300 protestors demanded to be addressed by the local ward councillor.
He said when police tried to open the road, the crowd hurled stones at them and set alight tyres.
Beetge said police had to use a water canon, stun grenades and rubber rounds to disperse the group.
One police officer was injured when a rock hit him on his chin and collar bone.
Beetge said by Thursday afternoon the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality continued to demolish illegal structures.
Police are also investigating a case of damaging infrastructure.
Motherwell Cluster Commander, Major General Dawie Rabie has ordered a full investigation and said arrests were expected soon.
“We cannot allow our roads to be damaged this way and the lives of our road users to be put in danger. Even the safety of our police men and women are threatened by these rock throwing protesters."