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59 arrested after violence in Alexandra

Military armoured vehicles are patrolling the township after a night of running battles.

Police and the military have been deployed to monitor the situation in Alexandra after residents set alight the offices of the ANC councillor and a local clinic during overnight protests on 8 May 2014. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police say 59 people have been arrested for public violence after protests in Alexandra spiralled out of control.

Forty-four people were detained after police and hundreds of demonstrators clashed outside the local court on Friday.

Burning tyres are still blocking some roads entering Alexandra in northern Johannesburg after a night of running battles.

Military armoured vehicles are now patrolling the township.

Watch: Election violence continues in Alexandra

Tensions flared after members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) made accusations of vote-rigging in the area after ballot boxes were allegedly found at a centre and hidden behind and inside shacks.

Several black bags filled with ballots were discovered by Lynnwood Ridge residents in a park on 8 May. Picture: iWitness.

Residents said clashes erupted between police and a group gathered outside the local court.

They said the group was there to show their support for 31 people arrested for torching a building on Thursday night, a case that's been remanded until Monday.

Watch: Alexandra: IEC offices set alight

Police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

But members have accused police of using live ammunition, although police have denied these claims.

A man who drove past the volatile township this morning says, "I could see the tyres were still burning and there was quite a lot of smoke coming from the centre of Alexandra. There were some protesters throwing objects onto the highway this morning as well."

Protestors also turned on foreign shop owners, looting their stores.

One man, who escaped from the crowd and ran for his life, says, "It's very bad. I don't think I'll be staying here again."

He says the hid inside a freezer while the crowds looted his shop.

Watch: Alexandra violence takes xenophobic turn

His brother's face was filled with grief when he saw his shop being set alight with three of his brothers still trapped inside.

He frantically pleaded with the army to rescue them and with sounds of gunshots emanating from the Madala hostel, army soldiers mounted a rescue effort and found the terrified men inside a freezer.

The traumatised shop owners had emptied out the contents of the freezer and jumped inside to avoid the flames.

From inside they made desperate phone calls for help.