Northern Areas now calm, but stay away says Port Elizabeth police

JULY 27, 2015

Police have cautioned the public to avoid parts of the Northern Areas, after protests over the teacher allocation at schools in the area turned violent on Monday.

Although police said the situation had calmed down, they were keeping a watchful eye should the situation flare up again.

According to reports, police and members of the community were locked in discussions to try and reach a solution.

Standford Road, Gail Road and 3rd Avenue and also roads between Hartebees Street and Pienaar Street should be considered no-go areas due to complaints of stone throwing reported there, the police said in a statement.  

"The situation is under control and the SAPS will continue to monitor and maintain high visibility in the area, including air support to all the affected areas. No arrests have been made as yet," provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Marinda Mills said.

"It is alleged that the disruptive action is due to unresolved matters between the community and the Department of Education."

Mills said SAPS members had been deployed since 05:00 on Monday to monitor disruptive actions and protests in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth, specifically in the station areas of Gelvandale and Bethelsdorp.

"A warning has been issued to protestors not to endanger the lives of people and to cease their violent actions of throwing stones at police vehicles and other road users."

She reminded community members that although they had the democratic right to protest, they had to respect the boundaries of the law and the rights of non-participating members of the public.

"Disregard for the law will not be allowed and those who fail to adhere to this will be arrested, charged and brought before a court."

This comes after members of the community started blocking and barricading roads with various items, including burning tyres, mattresses and rubbish. The protestors also started throwing stones which damaged police vehicles and those of other road users, the statement said.

Public Order Police, Tactical Response Teams and local police members had been deployed to bring the situation under control and had to use a water cannon, fire stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the protestors.

"It must be made very clear that under no circumstances were any live ammunition used by the SAPS," Mills said.


image: EWN