Gauteng school pupils gathered in mass at 13:00 in Johannesburg CBD, looting street vendors and allegedly causing havoc in stores in the area.
Police have stated that the reason for the strike was reportedly to deliver a memorandum of demands to both the MEC of Community Safety and the MEC of Education. The protests took place in front of the Education Department building, on Albertina Sisulu street and Eloff streets and were apparently organised by the Congress of South African students. No permission was authorised for the protest, however, and the situation had to be closely monitored by Johannesburg Metro Police.
According to police, the protest had subsided and the pupils had returned home by 17:20.
According to reports, the children were damaging property, terrorising shop owners and looting from vendors, as well as destroying their stands. The situation resulted in four school children having to go to hospital to receive medical attention after being assaulted by shop owners. The reason for the assaults were apparently due to retaliation by the shopkeepers, who were threatened by the pupils and whose stores were being looted and damaged in the process of the demonstrations.
“Four male learners, assaulted by shopkeepers, who retaliated to the looting, were taken to hospital,” the police’s Chief Superintendent, Wayne Minaar, said.
The children were allegedly threatening passers-by, displaying aggressive activity and wielding weapons, such as bricks and sticks. The police issued a notice for all to avoid the areas where the school children were protesting and placed officers on the scene.
Chief Superintendent, Wayne Minnaar, also stated that there had been other reports of learners protesting in Hillbrow and Fordsburg, but could not confirm nor refute whether the demonstrations were related to one another.
For a large majority of the day, it remained unclear what the demonstration was related to and why the pupils were protesting, until the Education MEC receieved the letter of demands.