Pretoria – Police arrested nine people during a violent protest at the Democratic Republic of the Congo Embassy on Francis Baard Street in Pretoria on Tuesday.
In a statement, police said two buses ferrying 250 people arrived at the embassy where an unauthorised protest took place.
The protest turned violent as stones were thrown at the embassy building, damaging windows and the front gate of the embassy.
A member of the Diplomatic Policing Unit was disarmed by protestors and his firearm was stolen.
SAPS members, including members of the Public Order Police, dispersed the crowd and nine people were arrested on various charges including malicious damage to property and public violence.
Police Acting National Commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane has condemned the violence saying SAPS respects the right to peaceful protest but such protest must be approved by authorities beforehand and the organisers must acknowledge that responsibilities accompany rights.
He said the crowd which gathered unlawfully attempted to gain access to the embassy with the apparent intention of setting it alight.
“The crowd was violent, caused damage to property, attempted to besiege an embassy under our protection and overpowered a police official, robbing him of a police firearm during the chaos.
“This can never be condoned and the SAPS roundly condemns such conduct.”
The police urged all in South Africa, citizens and visitors alike, to respect the laws of this country.
Meanwhile, at about 3pm, at a routine roadblock in Yeoville, police stopped a vehicle with a driver and no passengers. They discovered a firearm and on testing it, discovered that it had been stolen earlier from a police officer at the DRC Embassy, Police spokesperson Brigadier Sally de Beer said.