Police used stun grenades to disperse a crowd of protesting school pupils outside the Western Cape education department’s offices on Friday, they confirmed.
“[Police] members were met with resistance from the learners. Police started to used stun grenades in an attempt to defuse the situation,” Captain FC van Wyk said.
He said it was believed that some pupils were injured, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.
Earlier, the department said around 350 pupils of Philippi Secondary School were staging a protest, demanding a new school be built.
The school shares a site with Hein’s (SUBS:CORRECT) Park Primary School at present,” spokesman Paddy Attwell said.
“The department plans to build a new high school in the area, but does not currently have land for the school.”
This was confirmed by the office of Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schafer, which said the department had already budgeted for a new high school in the area.
“The department is consulting other departments and the city on the issue, so as to identify a suitable piece of land for the new school,” spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said in a statement.
A girl who fainted in the protest was taken to hospital. This was the only such incident of which the department was aware.
“We are obviously concerned about whether there was excessive force used by [the SA Police Service] on the learners and we are still getting more information,” she said.
Community safety MEC Dan Plato was expected to raise the question of the police’s conduct with provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Arno Lamoer.
He would ask specifically whether the actions carried out were aligned or contrary to the policy and standard operating procedure for protest actions, especially when children were involved, said Casey.
Van Wyk said no one was arrested during the protest. However, a case of public violence was being investigated. SAPA