Firefighters battle to put out fires in Pretoria CBD after a protest and looting. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Pretoria - Firefighters have been given protection to put out fires and save burning buildings on Lilian Ngoyi Street amid anti-drugs protests in the Pretoria CBD.

The work is proving to be difficult as some of the burning stores are still locked and special equipment is needed to break them open

While they spray water on the relentless fires, explosions can be heard coming from inside the buildings.
 
Earlier in the morning, the firefighters could not do their work as protesters chased them away from the buildings. 

Armed police officers have surrounded the buildings they are trying to save.

Firefighters battle to put out fires in Pretoria CBD after a protest and looting. Video: James Mahlokwane

However, store owners are heartbroken and disappointed that they've now lost all their stock.

Taxi operators said they want Police Minister Bheki Cele to come and talk to them to show that taxi drivers' concerns are also taken serious.

Xolly Tshabalala of Santaco said: "It's about time the police show us that they take taxi drivers seriously in this country. 

"We are not xenophobic, we are fighting to protect the youth of this country. 

"Drug dealers are ruining the lives of our young people selling them nyaope and other drugs right here in town and they get away with it. 

Firefighters battle to put out fires in Pretoria CBD after a protest and looting. Picture: James Mahlokwane


"They even killed one of our taxi drivers and that will just go unpunished."

The chaos comes a day after traffic came to a standstill in the CBD when taxi drivers blocked intersections with metro buses. 

They are angry after a Nigerian national allegedly shot and killed a taxi driver on Tuesday. 

Pretoria News