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Street vendors, law enforcement clash in JHB CBD

On Thursday afternoon, vendors clashed with the police during a raid to seized counterfeit goods.

The South African Police Service and Johannesburg Metro Police Department clashed with protesters in the central Johannesburg on Thursday, 1 August 2019. Picture: IntelligenceBureauSA/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - Street vendors in the Johannesburg CBD have accused the police of terrorising them after a raid turned violent.

On Thursday afternoon, vendors clashed with the police during a raid to seize counterfeit goods.

An armoured vehicle was pelted with stones and rubbish bins were overturned.

The South African Police Service and Johannesburg Metro Police Department clashed with protesters in the Johannesburg central business district when officers arrived in their numbers to seize counterfeit goods.

They were met with a hostile response as vendors started throwing stones at the police, who retaliated by firing rubber bullets.

One street vendor claimed that live ammunition was used but there was no independent confirmation of this.

“Immediately when they arrived, [they] started throwing grenades and used live ammunition. That’s when the commotion happened.”

A man was injured in the stomach.

'WE WERE JUST DOING OUR JOBS'

Johannesburg police defended their actions during their attempts to disperse the protesters in the Joburg CBD.

The police’s Xoli Mbele said they were just doing their jobs.

“The police were doing their random crime-preventing duties… So they went there in conjunction with the JMPD and while they were trying to perform their duties there, some of the shop owners and their friends started stoning the police vehicles.”

Mbele denied allegations that they used live ammunition.

Mbele could not confirm if people were injured but Eyewitness News has independently verified that several people were hurt during the clashes.

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