THE SITUATION in Pretoria CBD went from worse, to calm, to tense in a span of 24 hours, and on Thursday afternoon, protest activity has been ramped up in Sunnyside too.
As promised, taxi drivers in Pretoria took to the streets on the second day of their anti-drug protests and this time, the group covered some ground in Sunnyside too.
The protest action is a direct response to the murder of a fellow driver, known only as Jabu, who is believed to have been killed by foreign nationals.
On Wednesday, things got out of hand, after rioters targeted foreign-owned shops. Scores of angry rioters were seen looting the stores and torching several others, as police tried to get a grip of the mayhem that had encapsulated the capital.
The protesting taxi drivers have since distanced themselves from the violence, claiming that there was a group, not associated with their cause, that took advantage of the situation.
Things started slow on Thursday, as police regrouped in larger numbers to take up their position in targeted areas of the Pretoria CBD.
However, by the afternoon, large crowds of demonstrators took to the streets of Sunnyside to display their frustrations with rampant drug dealing that they believe has been perpetrated by foreign nationals.
While there have not been any signs of violence that resemble what the country bore witness to on Wednesday, law enforcement officers were forced to use rubber bullets to disperse crowds in Sunnyside.
From the information that has been circulating on social media, things are pretty tense in Sunnyside, Pretoria. Motorists and commuters alike have been warned to refrain from the area.
Furthermore, @TrafficSA issued a warning of road closures on:
- Cilliers Street; and
- Robert Sobukwe Street
“The taxi industry plays an integral part in the wellbeing of our communities‚ so when they cry out for police attention‚ it is important that we respond positively and swiftly‚ in the best interests of the community‚” provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela said.
Image (Lt-Gen Elias Mawela has promised more police visibility in the troubled Pretoria CBD).