A South African story of emerging civil-unrest and the state of the nation
I was travelling down the National 2 or N2 highway a couple of months ago when a local community blocked off the road and prevented any cars from passing by burning tyres and chunks of wood which was strewn over the lane and effectively blocking-off the road.
This cut off all traffic going in and out of Port Elizabeth which is a major hub for the region by a small group of people protesting for government grants for housing that was promised to them. I was being driven by a person who tried to make a U-turn on the highway and taking a smaller side road that ran parallel to the highway and after an hour detour came to discover that the side road ha also been blocked off as well.
That is where these pictures were taken.
When I eventually made it into the Port Elizabeth CBD I was confronted with a huge political gathering of people that was taking place in the city center by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who had thousands of people gathered.
After getting bored waiting in the car I decided to take a walk up the road to see where the blockage was and this is the end of the side road running along the highway connecting to the on-ramps onto the highway's bridge connecting both sides of the N2.
A community effort to block the road.
A fire truck was arriving on the scene to put out the flames so members of the one gathering signalled and called over members from an adjoining road block to up the numbers of people to protest over the fire truck about to arrive.
Now there is a big commotion and people are trying to decide what to do with the truck that is about to put out the fire.
so they decide to jump on top of the bonnet and bang the windows of the fire truck.
This is the money shot right here - an angry community sabotage the trucks operation by opening the water valve prematurely while the driver is reversing the truck into position and jumping on top of the car and banging on the bonnet.
So the crowd is basically demanding that the driver get out of the area immediately or else - interestingly this was all being filmed live by the police drone that had been deployed and was flying above and monitoring the situation. The story ends with the police moving into the scene moments after the crowd chased the fire truck away down the road and deployed a couple of flash-bang's or stun grenades when a contingent armed with an armoured vehicle confronted the crowd which scattered away like they were never there to begin with. The most interesting part of the story for me was that the largest majority of the crowd were women.
This is the EFF political rally I stumbled into when the road was finally opened which seemed to have a healthy amount ANC supporters as I believed they were all listening to some government official giving a speech.
A large amount of people all wearing red.