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Zuma protest enters day four, turns violent

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Protests over the imprisonment of former South African President, Jacob Zuma, has turned violent as it entered its fourth day, with shops reportedly looted and roads blocked as thousands of protesters marched through Johannesburg, the country’s largest city.

The police confirmed that at least 62 people were arrested on Sunday as they protested the 15-year jail term of the 79-year-old Zuma who was sentenced for defying a court order to testify before a state-backed inquiry probing allegations of corruption during his term as president from 2009 to 2018.

His bid to be released from the Estcourt Correctional Centre was rejected by a regional court on Friday while he is set to make another attempt on Monday with the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court.

The rioting by Zuma’s supporters began in his home region of KwaZulu-Natal province last week and spread during the weekend to Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city.

Several hundred people looted and burned stores in the Alexandra and Bramley neighbourhoods of Johannesburg, according to a statement by police Major General Mathapelo Peters.

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South African media also reports that 23 trucks were set ablaze at Mooi River around 150 kilometres (100 miles) northwest of Durban.

“The body of a 40-year-old man was recovered from a shop that had been burned and police are investigating the circumstances,” Peters said.

“In addition, three police officers were injured when trying to arrest looters and one was admitted to hospital.

“The police is increasing capacity in both provinces and have warned Zuma’s supporters against inciting violence on social media, as they could become liable for criminal charges.

“Shops will remain shut on Monday in both Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng to avoid looting,” Peters added.

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