Strike turns ugly in S/Phikwe

SELEBI-PHIKWE: With angry mobs masquerading as students wreaking havoc on government institutions, the public sector strike has taken an ugly turn in this mining town.

Workers in school uniforms invaded the government hospital where they queued as patients seeking medical attention before assembling outside the facility, singing liberation songs as they tossed dustbins and tree branches. From the hospital, the workers proceeded to Selebi-Phikwe Town Council where they flushed out non-striking workers, breaking windows and tossing steel benches in the process.

Terrified, the non-striking workers scuppered, locking themselves in their offices as those on the ground floor took flight to upper floors from where they peeped at the angry mass of humanity in the parking lot down below.  After making their emphatic statement at the council, the workers surrounded the statue of Sir Seretse Khama where they sang the national anthem before chanting slogans calling for the downfall of his son, President Ian Khama.

At one point, Mmegi correspondent Calistus Kolantsho was nearly mauled by the mean mob that apparently mistook him for a DIS agent. He escaped by a whisker when strike marshals provided protection, also giving this writer the opportunity to duck into the Town Clerk’s office.

Street vendors had to pack their merchandise as the angry mob cut across the mall, tossing more dustbins as they headed for BBS where several government departments are housed.  While they could not gain access, they gathered at the entrance and sang more liberation songs insulting the non-striking workers. Brandishing tree branches, the angry mob proceeded to their daily venue at the bus rank. In the mayhem, businesses closed for fear of invasion by the marauding workers.

In addition to government’s intransigent attitude, the striking workers were enraged by the announcement that all essential service employees were summarily fired yesterday.
http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?sid=1&aid=945&dir=2011/May/Thursday19

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