Vehicles pelted with rocks, car burnt and foreign-owned shops looted as residents go on a rampage
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Johannesburg - Free State police in different parts of the province had their hands full trying to disperse mobs that had taken to the streets and left destruction in their wake.
By the time police managed to bring the situation under control, foreign-owned tuck shops had been looted. Two vehicles were burnt, and a police station had been damaged.
Spokesperson for the Free State police, Brigadier Motantsi Makhele, said it all started in Allenridge when residents took the streets around 9pm on Sunday for a planned shutdown.
He said the residents started singing in the streets, and then things later turned haywire.
He said four foreign nationals shops were looted while streets were blocked with burning tyres and stones.
“The group then damaged the Satellite Police Station with stones, breaking window panes, and there was an attempt to burn it. Then passing motorists on R30 road were pelted with stones damaging three vehicles, and one vehicle was burned. A case of public violence and malicious damage to property as well as possession of suspected stolen property were reported.”
Makhele said information provided by residents led to the arrests of two men and two women who were found with large quantities of groceries stolen from the looted tuck shops.
Later, he said, officers in Meloding tried to disperse a group of about 50 demonstrators who had taken to the streets.
“The entrance to Meloding was blocked with burning tyres and stones, and six people were arrested for public violence.”
Police also grappled with another group in Thabong, which had blocked streets with burning tyres and stones. Twenty-one people were arrested.
In Welkom, Makhele said, tyres were burnt on the streets of Riebeeckstad and in Rheederspark.
Stones were also used to blocking the streets, but police intervened and cleared the roads for traffic to flow freely, Makhele said.
“In Ventersburg, the N1 was blocked with burning tyres and stones while motorists passing were pelted with stones. Petrol bombs were also used but didn’t affect any vehicle.
Last month, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed in Mangaung during a shutdown protest.
Makhele said, at the time, the allegations were that a group of protesters went to attack a warehouse in Dr Belcher Road, Bloemfontein. However, a security guard, who was alone at the time, fired a shot in a quest to scare the mob but hit the teenager.