SOUTH AFRICA: DURBAN: PROTESTERS AND POLICE COME INTO CONFLICT
Riot police in Durban, capital of South Africa’s Kwa Zulu Natal province, have clashed with protesters angry over their local bus service.
Police with dogs chased protesters through city centre streets, beating them with sticks and forcing them to disperse.
The protesters had earlier blocked roads at a squatter camp, demanding the services of a local bus company be withdrawn because they were inadequate.
Chaos erupted in central Durban after a large group of protesters marched downtown to protest against the poor bus service in their community.
Violence flared when riot police chased protesters, beating them with sticks.
Some officers beat and kicked people to the ground before dragging them to the dog unit van.
Bystanders, commuters and protesters mingled as people scattered in all directions.
The violence was reminiscent of the apartheid period when police commonly used force to suppress demonstrations against the government.
The protesters had marched from the Lindelani settlement where they had blocked roads.
They were mostly Lindelani residents and taxi operators, demanding that the municipal bus service be withdrawn from the Lindelani area because of poor service.
At Lindelani, the protesters blocked the main road causing a back-up of traffic.
Armed with machine guns, riot police confronted the protesters holding sticks, spears and other rudimentary weapons.
Protesters are demanding that private transport companies be given the opportunity to operate in the Lindelani area instead of the municipal bus service.
Eight buses have been hijacked and burnt in the area since last December.
Residents have vowed to continue their protest until their demands are addressed.
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