Tensions simmer as Walmer protest continues
The situation in the Walmer area of Port Elizabeth is still tense - and drivers are advised to stay away or use alternative routes, as reports suggest that residents have made good on their word to bring the area to a standstill.
At around lunchtime, the crowds were gathered at the corner of Heugh Road and 9th Avenue - the entrance into the township.
A large police contingent has been deployed to the area, largely shut off by burning barricades.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that some protesters had broke-in at the Walmer Country Club.
Early on, a truck driver escaped unharmed as protestors stoned and burned the front of his truck in 10th Avenue.
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.”
---additional reporting News24wire
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