Po­lice will use pro­por­tion­ate force against hooli­gans, says com­mis­sioner

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JONISAYI MARMOMO

PO­LICE will not stand by and watch as protest­ing stu­dents en­gage in vi­o­lence and de­stroy prop­erty, act­ing Na­tional Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Kho­motso Phahlane has warned.

He said yes­ter­day that po­lice of­fi­cers would – while ex­er­cis­ing re­straint as they con­trol the protests – use pro- por­tion­ate force.

“Tear­gas, stun grenades as well as rub­ber bul­lets fall un­der what is re­ferred to as non-lethal weapons. We are on record for say­ing mem­bers of SAPS are urged to ex­er­cise max­i­mum re­straint, and they have done so.

“We also said that when the sit­u­a­tion re­quires, the pro­por­tional use of force, as pro­vided in our laws, will ap­ply.

“There is no way that po­lice are go­ing to be pelted with stones and all kinds of ob­jects, and when they ap­ply min­i­mum force, it’s con­sid­ered to be bru­tal­ity. There is no way that we could al­low a sit­u­a­tion where po­lice are be­ing stoned and prop­er­ties dam­aged and ex­pect po­lice to be spec­ta­tors. They will re­spond to re­store or­der.”

Phahlane said the “be­hav­iour of those who con­ducted them­selves like hooli­gans” should not be con­doned.

He said protest­ing stu­dents who climbed on top of po­lice ve­hi­cles dis­played “dis­re­spect of the high­est or­der”.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice chief, 831 peo­ple have been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the on­go­ing # FeesMustFall protests.

“The trend (by protest­ing stu­dents) lately is to try dis- tract the po­lice, move away from the in­sti­tu­tions and go on the ram­page out­side, as it hap­pened in Braam­fontein ( Jo­han­nes­burg). You would have noted the num­ber of ve­hi­cles that were torched out­side the Wit­wa­ter­srand Univer­sity,” Phahlane said, adding that re­cent protests of­ten took place at night, leav­ing a trail of de­struc­tion by morning. – ANA

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