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Why stone cars?

On Monday 11 March, in the morning, protesters threw stones at motorists on the R114, police reported. This took place between Malibongwe and Cedar roads in Johannesburg. (http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Joburg-protesters-throw-stones-at-cars-20130311.) . About 200 workers apparently became violent and therefore traffic had to be diverted. Roads were closed off at 4.45am because protesters barricaded them with burning tyres. At the time the reason for the protest was unknown. Clearly these protesters were angry and therefore trying to make a scene.

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(File, Sapa)

I read an opinion piece on the incident (http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/I-dont-know-you-but-ill-hurt-you-anyway-20130311) which I have to agree with. Sheilan, the writer, talks about the fact that a friend of hers had his windscreen smashed at this very incident, and she poses the question “How the hell does it help to harm people who you aren’t really angry at?” I know that I have spoken about violence in protests before, but I feel particularly disgusted about this stone throwing business. It is very scary indeed, and exhibits extremely misplaced anger, perhaps directing us to the much more serious problem of anger and violence in South Africa. The impact of a stone thrown at a car can be detrimental to more than just one car and its passengers. A driver may react to a stone in a number of ways out of sheer panic, including breaking suddenly (which could lead to being hit by another car), swerving (which could lead to hitting another car or a barrier) or being injured by the stone and glass. One’s smashed windscreen could also impair vision, making driving dangerous for them and others. This is just a very spiteful and unjustified way of causing a scene, which could cost innocent people their lives and does not solve a single thing or prove anything, it is not even related!  I understand that protesters often blockade areas in order to get noticed, and that sometimes they may carry weapons or burn tyres or act in a threatening manner, but why throw stones at passing, uninvolved people? I think that it is just pushing things a little too far. It definitely will not motivate people to listen to and adhere to their wishes.

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