Innocent bystander shot


One man was admitted to Princess Marina Hospital with a broken leg courtesy of a riot police bulle, it is alleged. The victim was a bystander who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

He said he was visiting a relative at Princess Marina Hospital and met his ordeal after parking his car and walking towards the hospital circle where a number of people had gathered. He was standing at the pedestrian walkway by the Anglican Cathedral when a vehicle with armed Special Support Group officers from the university direction stopped at the hospital’s Accident and Emergency entrance.

Then all hell broke loose as its occupants swiftly got out, crouched low and started shooting. Initially people standing by the Cathedral fence thought the man was joking as he said calmly: “Batho enthusang ke robegile.

(Please help me, my leg is broken”.

As soon as it became apparent that the man had been shot people gathered around him as the police vehicle drove away. Eventually regular police officers came to the assistance of the man and called an ambulance which took him to the hospital.

The riot police were initially responding to unauthorised demonstrations by angry workers who had picketed along the Kudu road as they waited for Presidential Affairs Minister Mokgweetsi Masisi, who was scheduled to address a meeting at the Civic Centre. The meeting, like several others around the country, was aborted ostensibly for security reasons.

When it became clear that Masisi was not coming to city hall, hundreds of workers who were waiting for him dispersed into the streets. They chanted and brought traffic to a standstill. As a police chopper droned above, the pickets dared it to come down.

However as darkness approached, the strike marshals called on the workers to proceed to the assembly point at the Gaborone Secondary School (GSS) Grounds where the crowd discussed the day’s events before dispersing.
Then the chopper came again, this time a little lower, its searchlight glaring at a handful of people still remaining at the grounds. Then a fire broke out at the university circle. Another fire was lit at the Princess Marina circle and the sound of sirens seemed to enchant the few strikers left behind. They jeered at the police. Then suddenly many riot police vehicles came from the Main Mall side with their sirens piercing the cold evening.

The pickets and the few journalists there ran for dear life towards the Civic Centre. But then another riot van came from the direction they were running to and as one, they all made a u-turn back to the hospital traffic cycle. By this time, the police had started firing. Once again the remaining workers gathered at the GSS Grounds.

Then the police vehicles started circling the pickets. When they realised they were being hemmed in, they left the grounds and stood by the roadside. The police shot flares into the sky as the strikers jeered them with shouts of “Happy, happy new year!”

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