According to a police source, a case has been opened against anti-Zuma protestors who were involved in a heated standoff with police on Tuesday in Mangaung. The group have been charged with holding an illegal gathering in contravention of the Gathering Act. By ERIN McLUCKIE and THAPELO LEKGOWA/NewsFire.
According to NewsFire’s source, the case has been filed under the case number “Parkroad CAS 851/12/2012”.
Free State police spokesperson Billy Jones would not confirm or deny that charges had been opened, but did confirm that illegal gatherings took place on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the concerned protestors said they had no knowledge of the charges. “We know nothing about this court case – we applied for permissions and as far as we were aware they were granted,” said Serame Nthako.
The heated stand-off witnessed by NewsFire took place in Mangaung on Monday afternoon between police and about 150 pro-change ANC members from the Free State and the Western Cape, after police told the group that they did not have permission to gather. The group had gathered near the University of the Free State, where the ANC’s elective conference is being held, to chant and sing their support for Kgalema Motlanthe, as well as to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with President Jacob Zuma.
The anti-Zuma crowd felt aggrieved that their demonstration was contained by police, while pro-Zuma supporters gathered without restrictions outside the main entrance of the University of the Free State, where the conference is hosted. Police say that certain areas outside the university have been designated as legal areas for public gatherings, and that the Zuma supporters were within one of these areas and the anti-Zuma protestors were not.
Police did not explain why they prevented anti-Zuma protestors from reaching one of the legal gathering areas. DM
Photo: An ANC member aligned with the ‘Forces for Change’ argues with police in Bloemfontein (Leonie Marinovich/NewsFire).
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