Abahlali baseMjondolo and Rural Network Press update 5 December 2008 at 19h55pm
Latest on eMacambini:
– 10 residents of eMacambini were arrested and charged with “public violence” linked to yesterday’s road blockade. However, some of those arrested, including two school-age children, were not involved in the road blockade, but were arrested at their homes.
– Among those arrested, 5 were held at the Nyoni police station, and 5 were held at the Gingindlovu police station. They appeared in separate courts. All have been released on bail. The 10 accused will reappear in the same court – Mthunzini Court – but on separate dates – the 12th and the 18th of January 2009.
– According to residents, police shot indiscriminately at bystanders after the blockade was disbanded, and chased people back to their homes while firing rubber bullets and metal pellets. Many were shot at close range.
– People did throw stones at the police but in self defence and only after they were attacked by the police
– The police, which residents report came from outside the immediate area, from Mfolozi and as far as Stanger, were responsible for the shooting.
– Police reportedly kicked down the doors of people’s homes, entered and shot at them inside. Some residents, including women and children were hiding under their beds when police entered and shot at them.
– Among those arrested for “public violence,” three were seriously injured and were held in jail overnight, and have still not been seen by a doctor as of this afternoon. Two of those arrested and seriously injured were school-age children. The first, age 17, sustained injuries in custody to both his knees by police batons. The second, age 18, sustained injuries while in custody to his face from the butt of a gun. He was also beaten by police with a wooden plank on the arm, and shot with a rubber bullet in the knee. Another man, who was arrested along with the school-age children, was injured by a rubber bullet in the upper arm.
– The school-age children who were arrested were not part of the road blockade. They were in their homes while the blockade was unfolding. When they heard shooting and saw police chasing residents, they went outside to see what was happening. The police shot at them. They were then arrested, and assaulted by police inside the caspirs and vans that transported them to the police station. At no point were they told why they had been arrested.
– Another man who had not been involved with the blockade was assaulted with pepper spray. A police officer reportedly grabbed him from behind, with his arm around the man’s neck, and sprayed him close to the eyes with pepper spray.
A Mass Prayer will be held this Sunday, December 7, 2008, at the eMacambini Sports Ground.
There will be further action against the threatened forced removal of 10 000 families.
Moffat Chili: 073 409 8625
Herbert Mbambo: 082 309 1637
Bheki Lushozi: 083 885 1448
Shando: 083 684 4562
Abahlali baseMjondolo and Rural Network Press update 5 December 2008 at 09h50am
Reporting on the incident has not been good. Most reporters have only interviewed police officers and have failed to get statements from the residents themselves. This has led to a number of inaccuracies as police are scrambling to justify their intense and violent repression of the protest. Currently, there are no reports of any injuries to any motorists or police officers. It seems that only residents have suffered any injuries. Below are the facts from our investigations on the ground:
Shooting and injuries: SABC 3 News now estimates that 50 residents of eMacambini were injured during the road blockade. At least 30 people, mostly women, were directly shot by the police. The blockade took place in three locations on the N2, and those injured were taken to separate hospitals or were treated by paramedics at the scene, making it difficult to determine how many people were shot and injured by police.
What is confirmed is that among the people counted with injuries, most were shot with lead pellets and others with rubber bullets. Also confirmed is that police shot residents even after the road blockade has been dismantled. Bystanders not involved in the blockade were also shot.
At least 10 people remain in hospital as a result of the shootings. Most of those in hospital are women and many were shot at close range which can be deadly. One woman remains in critical condition after being shot at close range in the face by police.
Repression and arrests: We now know that ten people have been arrested. They have been told that they will appear in court today, December 5, 2008. Some of those arrested were injured when police opened fire. One man who sustained a serious injury to the knee remains in jail, and as of late last night, still has not been allowed to see a doctor.
For background information, visit the Stockpile of information on the eMacambini/AmaZulu World evictions
For the previous press release by the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee, click here