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South African police fire rubber bullets at school protest

18 August 2015, 15:02

Johannesburg - South African police officers fired rubber bullets at parents protesting outside a primary school on the outskirts of Johannesburg on Tuesday, wounding at least six people, local media said.

The Gauteng Department of Education (GED) shut down the Roodepoort Primary School on Monday in an effort to stem unrest between feuding communities but a faction of parents began protesting because they wanted the school re-opened.

Angry parents tried to break into the school on Tuesday and blocked children from boarding buses provided to take them to alternative schools, before police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowds, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported.

A video on the EWN website show policemen firing rubber bullets and one man wounded on the floor.

The police did not respond to a request for comment.

Unrest at the Roodepoort school has been simmering for months over probes into corruption and racism in the appointment of a black principal and her two deputies.

Coloured parents, a term that in South Africa refers mainly to mixed-race people, say the principal mishandled school funds and her appointment didn't follow due process. An investigation by the GED said there had been no wrongdoing, prompting fights between parents and violence towards teachers.

The GED says the coloured communities are causing unrest because they want a coloured principal at the school.

"This is corruption. It was never about colour," Ronald Dyers, a coloured community spokesperson, told 702 Talk Radio following the latest unrest at the school.

Protests at schools in South Africa are common as parents vent frustrations at what they view as a failing education system. With the exception of a wealthy elite, students at South African schools are poorly educated due to overcrowding, under-funding and unqualified teachers, rights groups say.

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- Reuters


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