CAPE TOWN – Police say the situation in the Port Elizabeth area where a violent protest erupted earlier today has been brought under control for now.
Officers clashed with demonstrators who it’s believed want a number of schools there shut down.
It’s believed the protest was sparked after a community group called the Northern Areas Education Forum moved to shut down a number of schools.
The forum is apparently unhappy with the way in which the provincial education department has been handling an issue around the filling of teacher vacancies.
The demonstration started off peacefully this morning, but turned ugly when protesters allegedly began throwing stones at police vehicles and other road users.
Members of the community also blocked off and barricaded roads with various items including burning tyres, mattresses and rubbish.
Police on the scene of violent protests in Port Elizabeth on 27 July 2015. Picture: AlgoaFM.
In a statement, police said its public order unit, tactical response teams and local police members brought the situation under control by using a water cannon, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the protestors.
But residents claim that live shots were fired.
Police vehemently denied this and said under no circumstances did officers use any live ammunition.
Live shots were reportedly fired at protesting residents in Helenvale in Nelson Mandela Bay on 27 July 2015. Picture: The Herald.
Meanwhile, the public have been advised to avoid Stanford Road, Gail Road and Third Avenue and also roads between Hartebees Street and Pienaar Street
Police 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.