VEREENIGING, January 18 – A South African Police Service (SAPS) van stationed at the Afrikaans Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging, was set alight on Thursday afternoon, as community members continue to protest against the school’s “exclusion” of non-Afrikaans speaking learners.
The situation was tense but calm outside school, at around 2pm with police officers chatting on one side, and scores of protesters on the other side.
Suddenly, the marked SAPS Nissan Hardbody double-cab was in flames. The fire was quickly extinguished before causing extensive damage to the car.
Police officers, pointing pistols and shotguns, then rushed to arrest groups of Congress of South African Students (COSAS) members who had been protesting at the school. There were skirmishes as most of the detained people said they had no involvement in the arson attack.
On Wednesday, police fired rubber bullets at the protesters outside the school in Vereeniging, where 55 English speaking children had been turned away.
The first day of school turned bloody when a couple of protesters were hit by rubber bullets. Shortly after ambulances arrived outside the school and ferried away bleeding protesters.
Police officers pointing shotguns, chased the protesters for a distance. They repeatedly fired stun grenades and rubber bullets, while shouting at the protesters to move off.
A few protesters fell to the ground, bleeding. A bleeding aged woman complained that she had been shot in her back. Her arm was also bleeding. She was attended to by paramedics.
– African News Agency (ANA)