Tensions simmer in PE as protest continues

Jeff Wicks, News24

Port Elizabeth - Tension is simmering in Port Elizabeth’s Walmer Township after a violent service delivery protest over housing continued on Thursday.

A large police contingent has been deployed to the area, largely shut off by burning barricades.

Police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg confirmed one person had been arrested and charged with public violence after large groups of community members hurled stones and rocks at passing cars and at police sent to disperse them.

“A 36-year-old suspect has been arrested and will appear in the Port Elizabeth magistrates court today [Thursday],” she said.

“A group of about 500 protesters has gathered at Walmer SAPS demanding the release of the suspect. The road in front of [the police station] has been closed.”

Crowds started gathering in different areas of Walmer Township early on Thursday morning, Janse van Rensburg said.

“They also started to obstruct the flow of traffic by burning tyres. Victoria Road, 8th to 11th Avenue and 5th Avenue have been closed. Two cars have been reported damaged by community members throwing stones at passing vehicles.”

She added that SAPS members were addressing the crowd while they waited for a Nelson Mandela Metro Municipality representative to arrive to speak to the community.

“It is alleged the disruptive actions are due to unresolved matters between the community and the municipality on service delivery,” Janse van Rensburg said.

“A warning has been issued to protestors not to endanger any lives and to cease their violent actions.”

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