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Durban cops struggle to control ‘clearly coordinated’ protests

06 June 2016 - 14:48 By Matthew Savides

Protest action across Durban on Monday was "clearly coordinated" and had spread police resources thin‚ said one police officer. Tyres have been burnt and roads closed in at least half a dozen areas of the city‚ including KwaMashu‚ Newlands East‚ North Coast Road‚ Sea Cow Lake‚ Queen Nandi Drive‚ Mountbatten Drive and Westville. The protest action started as early as 2am in some areas‚ police said.One officer‚ who spoke on condition of anonymity‚ said it was difficult to even keep track of where the protesters were because of how widespread the protest action was."It's clearly coordinated. All these (protests) happened at about the same time this morning. It's not just a few people who are upset and causing trouble‚" the officer said. This situation meant that officers had to cover multiple areas simultaneously‚ making policing difficult.Protest action flared up again shortly after 10am at the top of Queen Nandi Drive‚ where a police contingent of about a dozen officers had to monitor a group of about 60 protesters.At one stage‚ a white car drove up and dropped off tyres‚ which were immediately put on top of already-burning piles of debris‚ sending further plumes of black smoke into the air.A TMG Digital reporter was threatened by the group when trying to capture images. Meanwhile‚ about 1km away on Corobrik Road‚ a small group of protesters blockaded the road - a situation which‚ according to a security guard‚ had been ongoing since about 2am.According to police at both scenes‚ protesters were seemingly unhappy with the candidates the African National Congress (ANC) put forward ahead of the local government elections in August."These guys want their own person‚ but the ANC has put someone else‚" said one police officer‚ who added that no political party representative had come to the scene despite the complaints from residents. - TMG Digital/Durban Bureau..

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