Fifty people arrested for violent riots

FIFTY one people were arrested yesterday while 16 were injured during a violent service delivery protest in Palm Ridge on the East Rand.

FIFTY one people were arrested yesterday while 16 were injured during a violent service delivery protest in Palm Ridge on the East Rand.

Scores of residents in the undeveloped part of the area gathered in the early hours of the morning to start a protest that culminated in a serious confrontation with police.

The march, which was sparked by residents' demand for electricity, ended violently - with some of the protesters admitted to hospital after sustaining serious rubber bullets wounds.

Community leader Sarafina Maseko said police provoked peaceful protesters at about 9am when they fired rubber bullets at them.

"They were singing on the street carrying placards. Police attacked them without provocation," she said.

The residents said they were marching because the council had not provided them with electricity . They also claimed that corrupt councillors have allocated RDP houses to people who did not qualify.

While Sowetan was interviewing Ekurhuleni metro spokesperson Zweli Dlamini, a stone dropped in front of the police's human barrier from one of the houses nearby.

After a second stone missed them, police went for the crowd. The protesters ran in different directions and the police had to fish them out from shacks and nearby bushes. They beat them up while leading them to waiting police vehicles.

Dlamini said the march was illegal.

He also said a member of the mayoral committee, Aubrey Nxumalo, had addressed them last Thursday and explained to them that their problems were receiving attention.

Police spokesperson Constable Lindelani Dladla said those arrested were expected to appear in the Alberton magistrate's court today.

They will face charges of public violence, she said.

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