Five protesters were injured when Metro Police opened fire at them using rubber bullets at the corner Olievenfontein Road and the N1, near Midrand during yesterday’s SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) strike.
According to strike organiser, Praisewell Nsibande, ambulances were called to the scene after police opened fire on them. The injured protesters were later detained by police, Midrand Reporter reported.
“We were walking to Midrand CBD when they were shot,” said Nsibande.
He said they were struggling to get taxis home because taxi drivers did not want to associate themselves with the strike.
“I tried to look into the van that other members are being held in but police would not allow me,” he said.
“Some people have told me that the people in there were bleeding,” said Nsibande.
Zanele Sabela, media officer for Satawu, said the incident was as a result of media personnel leaving when the strike dispersed. “The police were okay all day long, I don’t know what provoked them to do this,” said Sabela.
Wayne Minnaar, spokesperson of the Metro Police, said the shooting took place a little after 3pm when protesters refused to disperse.
“The police requested that they disperse however they refused,” said Minnaar.
He said the rubber bullets were fired after protesters allegedly began throwing rocks at police.
“Five protesters were injured due to the rubber bullets and the fence along the road as they were running,” said Minnaar.
He also said that metro police arrested eight protesters, three women and two men, who were being detained at the Midrand police station.
– Caxton News Service