Protests against Zuma's detention in South Africa

Violence is spreading Protests against Zuma's detention in South Africa

Protests in South Africa

In the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, workers stand next to the charred rubble at a toll booth where previously violent demonstrators protesting against the imprisonment of ex-President Zuma set several cars and trucks on fire. Photo: Ralf Krüger / dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

Dozens of arrests and damage that now runs into the millions - after the imprisonment of the former president, the situation escalates in some parts of South Africa.

In South Africa, protests against the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma are raging in more and more places and with increasing violence.

On Sunday, the demonstrations spread in and around the economic metropolis of Johannesburg and the northern province of Gauteng. The riots have already led to an estimated damage of 100 million rand (6 million euros) within days, said a government spokesman. They started on Thursday in the home province of Zumas in the east of the country, KwaZulu-Natal.

A group of around 800 demonstrators shot and injured police officers in Gauteng, the police said in a statement. A 40-year-old man was shot dead; who was responsible for the death is still being determined, it said. Protesters also blocked numerous streets and ransacked shops.

Thousands of demonstrators had previously set dozens of cars, trucks and infrastructure on fire in KwaZulu-Natal and barricaded parts of the N3 motorway, the country's most important north-south link. According to police, at least 62 demonstrators were arrested across the country.

Zuma was sentenced to a 15-month prison sentence last week for disregarding the judiciary, starting on Thursday. The 79-year-old is in Estcourt Prison in KwaZulu-Natal. It is the first time ever that a former president of the country has been jailed.

Zuma has to answer to a commission of inquiry for various allegations of corruption during his term of office (2009-2018), but did not accept a subpoena. On several occasions he had questioned the legality of the commission and stressed that he would go to prison rather than appear there.

On Monday, the Constitutional Court will examine Zuma's application for the annulment of the prison sentence - a procedure that is actually not provided for in a supreme court decision.