Pretoria - Scores of rubber bullets were fired at an angry crowd protesting outside the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate's Court today.
Locals led by ANC and EFF leaders expressed anger that two farmers accused of assaulting a black girl, aged 9, and firing a rifle to threaten her, had been granted bail at an earlier court appearance on October 19.
The crowd and the father of the girl who is said to be traumatised said they were surprised to just see the two accused roaming freely while they thought they were behind bars.
Police fire rubber bullets at protesters outside Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate's Court. Video: James Mahlokwane
The crowd threw stones and bottles at the police and broke windows of the court's building before rubber bullets were fired.
The crowd is angry claiming the police used excessive force as some of the people hit by rubber bullets were just sitting outside the court.
Earlier, the suspects fled the courtroom running on foot to save their lives. They used the back exits and ran while the crowd inside the court was still seated.
Local political leaders said this alleged crime was politically motivated.
They claim that Bronkhorstspruit is riddled with racism that goes unpunished by the justice system.
Tshwane NPA Chief Prosecutor Matric Lupondo said his department will issue a proper explanation why the accused were granted bail at the high court.