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Last Updated: Monday, 3 September 2007, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
Violent protests over SA housing
Police officer firing rubber bullets in Soweto, 3 September 2007
Police said they had to use rubber bullets
One person has been killed during angry clashes between police and protesters in the South African township of Soweto, police say.

The man was run over by a bakery van during the protests, in which police fired rubber bullets and water cannon, and demonstrators threw stones.

The protesters are angry at what they see as the government's failure to improve living conditions.

A BBC correspondent says these are the latest in a series of violent clashes.

One community leader told the BBC that local residents still had no water, no electricity and no sewage provision.

"We still go [to the toilet] in the bushes," he said.

Arrests

Scores of protesters in Protea South, a sprawling shanty town of tin shacks and lean-tos outside Johannesburg, chanted "More homes" and "We want water".

They complained that more than a decade after the fall of apartheid and the promise of prosperity, they still live in desperate poverty.

Hundreds of protesters also blockaded the N12 highway south of Soweto with large rocks and burning barricades.

South African police attempt to disperse demonstrators in Soweto on Monday 3 September 2007
Soweto was the cradle of resistance to apartheid

The demonstrators said they gathered after local government officials refused to meet them to discuss their complaints.

Police confronted the crowd and after a stand-off that lasted several hours, councillors came for talks.

But as the discussion grew heated, protesters threw rocks at the armoured vehicle they were talking from.

Police opened fire with rubber bullets, shooting low and flat as the crowd scattered into the township.

"Police had to use rubber bullets when hundreds of residents became violent during a protest," police spokeswoman Inspector Edna Mamonyane told the AFP news agency.

"Two journalists were injured when protesters started throwing stones and bricks at the police. A protester was run over by a bakery truck and killed on the scene, while we arrested seven suspects."

Better place

The BBC's Peter Greste in Johannesburg says the protest is the latest in a long series of angry demonstrations at the ANC government's failure to deal with the demands of the vast, black underclass that supported them through the years of apartheid.

Analysts have warned that unless significant improvements are made soon to the impoverished townships, these protests will only become more angry and more frequent.

Our correspondent says it is not yet a political crisis, but it is heading that way.

The government says it is in a process of moving the Protea South residents to a better place where they will be provided with houses.

South Africa has built at least 1.6 million new houses and 9 million people have gained access to water since the end of apartheid in 1994, but shortages remain severe.


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Police fire rubber bullets into crowds of protesters



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