Police will use proportionate force against hooligans, says commissioner
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