Expatica news

Police fire rubber bullets in S.Africa farm strikes

Police fired rubber bullets on Wednesday at rock-throwing farm workers who renewed wildcat wage strikes in South Africa’s picturesque western fruit belt, public radio reported.

Pockets of unrest flared up early Wednesday across the Western Cape province, just weeks after unprecedented farm strikes left two dead and vineyards destroyed.

Protests turned violent in De Doorns, a top grape-growing area outside Cape Town where the previous wave of strikes also began, as strikers threw stones at police from behind barricades, according to SABC radio.

Meanwhile radio’s Eyewitness News reported major highways in the area were closed due to the risk of violent protests.

Police set up barricades to keep a small crowd from entering small town Wolseley in the morning, but later removed the barriers as the numbers dwindled.

Violence spread late last year from De Doorns to several other farming towns.

Two people died during the unrest, which saw police firing rubber bullets at protesters, the torching of vineyards, vehicles and liquor stores, and the closing of national routes over safety fears. Damage amounted to 150 million rand.