Police officer injured after Malema supporters turn violent

30th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

A police officer has been hospitalised and five journalists injured on Tuesday during clashes between supporters of ruling African National Congress (ANC) youth wing leader Julius Malema and police, media reported.

Violence broke out early Tuesday as thousands of Malema supporters hurled stones and bottles at police outside ANC headquarters ahead of his hearing.

Johannesburg police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said that one officer had been hospitalised.

"He the policeman was hit on the head with a rock and has been taken to hospital. I'm not sure of his condition," he added.

Sapa news agency reported that at least five members from various local media companies were caught in the crossfire and got injured when they were hit by stones.

Mark van der Velden, Sapa editor, confirmed that the news agency's photographer Werner Beukes had been hit in the back by a rock thrown by unruly elements in the crowd but he was not badly injured.

"This is clearly a case of assault. I will be following this matter up through the appropriate channels," said Van der Velden.

The window of private television station eNews broadcast van was broken when protesters hurled objects at it.

Malema is being tried on charges of bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing divisions in the ruling party after reports linking him to a movement to oust Zuma as party leader.

He is charged along with five other youth league officials and could be expelled from the ANC at the closed-door hearing, after being found guilty of criticising Zuma by the party's disciplinary committee last year.

© 2011 AFP

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