Africa Police Arrest 59, Army Dispatched To Calm Protests
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[May 10, 2014]
By David Dolan
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African
police arrested 59 people and the army was called in overnight to quell
post-election protests in a Johannesburg slum, police and media said on
Saturday, as the ANC government clamped down on disorder following its
victory at the polls.
Police on Friday used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse
protestors in the impoverished black township of Alexandra who had
burned tires and barricaded roads, spokesman Brigadier Neville
Alexandra was "calm this morning," he said, adding that "security
forces" remained in the area.
The South African Press Association earlier reported the army had
been called in overnight to restore calm, quoting the premier of
Gauteng province, Nomvula Mokonyane.
Although the ruling African National Congress remains popular with
South Africa's black majority after dismantling the apartheid system
is 1994, there is rising discontent among the millions stuck in
grinding poverty and without access to running water or electricity.
The ANC won the 2014 national election with 62.16 percent of the
votes, according to a provisional tally.
The official numbers are due to be announced later on Saturday and
President Jacob Zuma is expected to address the nation at 1100 ET.
Following the vote, as many as 400 people had gathered on Friday
outside a court in Alexandra to burn tires and demand the release of
other protestors arrested a day earlier, police spokesman Malila
On Thursday at least 39 people were arrested after an electoral
commission office was torched in Alexandra. Both groups of those
detained are due to appear in court on Monday.
By calling in the army, the African National Congress government is
taking a harder tack against public unrest than it has in the recent
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When violent labor unrest swept through the country's platinum belt
in 2012, the government put the army on standby but did not dispatch
Burdened with sluggish economic growth and damaging strikes in his
first term, the scandal-plagued Zuma is at pains to soothe investor
concerns about Africa's most sophisticated economy and push through
Over the last year he has devoted less and less time to the wishes
of unions, whose long walkouts have hit confidence in the economy.
Zuma hinted this week that the ANC needed to take a more
pro-business stance, accusing the main platinum union of
irresponsibility for dragging out a four-month wage strike.
(Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Toby Chopra)
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