Wednesday, February 12, 2014

South Africa: Election rally turns violent

South Africa's heated election campaign has escalated into violence, prompting Johannesburg police to fire rubber bullets and stun grenades.
African National Congress militants on Wednesday brandished sticks and hurled Molotov cocktails and bricks at members of the Democratic Alliance holding a march near the ANC's headquarters to highlight vast unemployment in the country.

Police responded with force, rounding up stone-throwing youths, while forming a human barrier between supporters of the rival parties.DA supporter Mellisa Cohen said the march had intended to be peaceful
We are here to make our voice heard and we are met with violence. It's not right, especially in a democratic country, she said.We all have a right to express ourselves. This is barbaric.The ANC had called the march a reckless provocation and a declaration of war against the party's headquarters.After failing to have the march banned in court, the ruling party set the stage for the standoff by bussing in thousands of its own supporters to the city centre for a rival rally.

Gripping a brick painted with the letters "DA" 20-year-old ANC supporter Kamogelo promised violence as the DA march approached. These people must use bricks today, they must use it, he said.There's no toyi toyi (demonstration) without violence. There's a lot to happen here, there's a lot. We are ready for DA.South Africans will go to the polls on May 7 to vote in the country's fifth democratic election since the end of Apartheid in 1994.he run-up to the vote has been overshadowed by violent demonstrations about the lack of basic services and jobs.

Source: AAP

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