CAPE TOWN, Sept. 19 — South African police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters as a strike by taxi drivers turned violent in Cape Town on Monday.
The strike began peacefully in the morning but soon turned violent when protesters burned buses and threw stones at police and passing vehicles, according to police. Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to bring the situation under control, police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said. There was no report of injuries at the moment, the spokesperson said. Several roads in and around the city were blocked, leaving thousands of commuters stranded. Taxi drivers staged the strike to press their demand that their grievances be addressed. Among the grievances are the impounding of vehicles and a disagreement over the election of new taxi leadership in the Western Cape province.Taxi operators are unhappy about the leadership of the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association and have called for intervention by the provincial government.
The Western Cape government said it is working to resolve the problems and urged the strikers not to resort to violence during the protest. The South African Police Services (SAPS) said it was working closely with other law enforcement officials from metro police and traffic services to prevent road closures and traffic disruptions. “We urge the those participating in the strike to respect other road users who are not part of the strike. As law enforcement agencies we will not hesitate to act on those who break the law and infringe upon the rights of others,” SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said. – XINHUA