Young teacher assaulted and robbed in midst of Bathurst protest

A young teacher was beaten with a knopkierie and robbed during a road blockade on the R67 by protesters from Nolukhanyo township in Bathurst last Thursday.

She said her attacker was wearing EFF branded clothing and had smashed her car window and robbed her of her cellphone and handbag.

Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender said: “The severely traumatised victim was assisted at Grahamstown SAPS in opening a case of robbery which will be transferred to Bathurst for investigation.”

VIDEO: SAPS Public Order Police disperse protesters from Nolukhanyo who blockaded the R67 between Bathurst and Grahamstown with burning tyres on January 17. Video supplied by a Bathurst resident.

Govender also said 50 protesters had been arrested on public violence charges after the road blockade on the R67 and additional violence in Nolukhanyo.

The R67 was blocked off early in the morning with burning tyres at the entrance to the Bathurst Showgrounds. Govender said initially there were about 50 residents involved in the protest, but that number grew to about 300. The blockade was a sequel to two days of protests in November last year, when Nolukhanyo residents expressed their anger over service delivery issues and against Ward 5 councillor Andile Marasi.

Public Order Police (POPS) told the protesters that as soon as the mayor had finished addressing them, they had to disperse as the protest was not legal and infrastructure was being damaged. In addition to the fires melting the tar, some protesters tore down business signage.

“The protesters refused to leave. Several attempts to disperse the crowd were made,” Govender said

She said POPS eventually resorted to dispersing the crowd using stun grenades, rubber bullets and teargas. “Approximately 50 protesters were arrested. One person was injured,” she said.

See the full story in this week’s Talk of the Town.

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