Luthuli House precinct on a knife edge
There have been sporadic outbreaks of violence outside the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters where the governing party’s supporters have attempted to break through a police barricade to reach the Democratic Alliance march at Mary Fitzgerald Square.
Police fired rubber bullets to disperse Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members and other ANC supporters on Pritchard Street. The ANC supporters retaliated by chasing the police officer who gave the order to fire bullets on President Street, where he was whisked away in a police van.
A police officer who was one block away from Luthuli House told the Mail & Guardian that a group of MK veterans who were trying to reach the DA march stabbed three white people.
It’s unclear whether the people who were allegedly stabbed were part of the protest against President Jacob Zuma.
In another incident, a group of MK veterans grabbed a poster which read “We Shall Rise Together” and beat a group of #ZumaMustFall protesters with it. The group of people appeared to have been beaten because they are white.
An earlier attempt by about 100 ANC supporters to reach Mary Fitzgerald Square, four blocks away from Luthuli House, was thwarted by police firing rubber bullets. The group were eventually escorted back to Luthuli House by MK vets.
Earlier, three people carrying a “You Must Be Joking” banner were roughed up and their banner was burnt after they tried to walk through Library Gardens, where the ANC has set up a stage to address its members.
The Johannesburg Metro Police Department and SAPS have formed a two-block buffer zone in the city centre, preventing ANC supporters from reaching Newtown, where the DA march has culminated.
The city centre remains tense, with a heavy presence of police and MK veterans.