POLICE fired rubber bullets and tear gas at rioting soldiers at the Union Buildings yesterday to break up an illegal protest described by the defence minister as a threat to national security.
Several police and military vehicles were damaged by a petrol bomb and other vehicles were vandalised as the all-day wage protest, organised by the SA National Defence Union, turned violent. Two soldiers were arrested and a policeman and several soldiers were injured.
The protest, part of a serious of marches organised by Sandu, had earlier been banned by a judge.
Minister of Defence Lindiwe Sisulu described the troops’ conduct as “disgraceful” and “unbecoming”, saying it had placed the nation in danger.
Just after 4pm the protest, spotted with flashes of violence, came to an end when hundreds of soldiers reluctantly heeded police warnings that more ‘‘necessary force’’ was imminent.