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Staff Reporter

About 70 people have appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court after they were arrested for violence-related crimes during a two-day shutdown which brought the Free State provincial capital to a complete standstill.

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Sam Makhele said in a statement that police deployed in Mangaung to manage disruptive actions made additional arrests in the past 24 hours.

He said this was after the looting of shops belonging to foreign nationals with some seriously damaged.

“The total number of people who were arrested since the shutdown started on Sunday evening stands at 70, and we anticipate more arrests as there are shop owners still coming to report additional cases,” he said.

Protests were also reported in areas like Soutpan, Dewetsdorp and Zastron which are now part of Mangaung.

“In Zastron protests, about 20 people have been arrested so far for public violence and looting which took place at foreign nationals’ shops as well,” said Makhele.

Police deployments remain place and most places were generally quiet with a few disturbances reported.

Buses and taxis are moving in most parts of the city and people have reported for work.

Some however chose to stay at home.

In some areas people were confused as they didn’t know if the shutdown was over.

The organisers have not made a public announcement to end the protest amid claims the leaders are having clashes amongst themselves.

Efforts to reach the communications team failed as they said they were in a meeting.

Police have once again appealed to those who continue to loot shops and barricade roads to stop as this will be considered as pure acts of criminality.

Meanwhile, the 57-year-old suspect arrested for the killing of a teenage boy at a warehouse in Mangaung has been charged with culpable homicide and was granted bail of R1 000.

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