Tensions high in Brackenfell as police use force on EFF protesters again

A public order policing commander earlier called on protesters to refrain from pelting objects at officers.

EFF members gather at Brackenfell High School ahead of their anti-racism demonstration on 20 November 2020. Picture: Zukile Daniel/EWN

CAPE TOWN - There has been more conflict at an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) march to Brackenfell High School.

Stun grenades, tear gas and water cannon have been used on several occasions by police.

Earlier, authorities dispersed the group that had gathered too early.

They were only granted permission to gather from noon and were limited to 100 participants.

A short while ago, it appeared that 500 people were being allowed to gather and march through a police perimeter.

The protest came about after the news emerged of a matric function to which only white pupils were allegedly invited.

The EFF supporters had gathered a block from school gates where leaders were still expected to address them from an EFF-branded truck.

Barbed wire separated groups of supporters.

A public order policing commander earlier called on protesters to refrain from pelting objects at officers.

The EFF’s Vuyani Pambo earlier said that they would not be dictated to by police on how many party supporters could join the protest.

POLICE ACCUSED OF USING EXCESSIVE FORCE

Meanwhile, EFF leaders at the forefront of the protest said police were using disproportionate force against their members.

Authorities initially said only 100 demonstrators would be allowed to proceed as per the terms of Friday’s march, but that number was revised to 400.

One protestor told Newzoom Afrika officers were being heavyhanded.

“It’s unfair what the police are doing. It’s very much unfair because this march is peaceful, and they want to destroy it. We cannot accept that, and we want the country to know that this area doesn’t want to accept transformation,” he said.

EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego said: “We are very much glad that everybody has responded, including other provinces as well as the international world to see what is happening in the Western Cape. As long as the EFF is here in the Western Cape, that [racism] will never happen.”

At the same time, the Western Cape Education Department accused members of the red berets of intimidating pupils at the school.

The department’s Kerry Mauchline said the grade 8 and 11 exams had to be rescheduled.

“Learners are frightened and I think this is so horrible about this situation is that all that’s happening, in the end, is that learners are getting scared and are being intimidated. And it’s very worrying that a political party would want to score points by basically intimidating and scaring children,” Mauchline said.

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