Police attacked, officers' houses torched in North West protest

Violence erupted in Bloemhof in the North West on Wednesday evening. File photo.
Violence erupted in Bloemhof in the North West on Wednesday evening. File photo.
Image: iStock

Three houses were torched, a police station was damaged and officers were attacked after violence erupted in Bloemhof, in the North West.

Police spokesperson Captain Sam Tselanyane told TimesLIVE on Thursday that a group of community members gathered at the police station on Wednesday evening and demanded the release of six people who had been arrested for assault.

The six were arrested during a police operation on Tuesday evening.

“There was confrontation between them and the police. They pelted the police station and our members with stones. Our members eventually managed to (disperse) them,” Tselanyane said.

The community members then headed to the local township, where they torched three houses occupied by police officers.

Tselanyane said one house was burnt to ashes, while the other two were badly damaged.

The community members also pelted police cars patrolling the area.

On Thursday morning, they blocked several roads and prevented people from going to work.

Schools in the town were also closed.

Tselanyane said the station commander addressed the community at the police station and is expected to meet with its members again on Thursday afternoon.

“The situation is still volatile,” he said.  

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) have called for calm to be restored.

“We appeal to community members not to take the law into their hands. We condemn these unjust acts and want to call for calm and dialogue in the community of Bloemhof.

“We would like to express that it is only through good working relations between police and communities that we can make our communities a better place to live in, and no amount of attacks against each other can bring about any peaceful resolutions,” the union said.

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