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S.Africa policemen arrested for protest killing

File picture shows a South African police vehicle on patrol east of Johannesburg/AFP

File picture shows a South African police vehicle on patrol east of Johannesburg/AFP

JOHANNESBURG, January 24- Four South African police officers were arrested and charged on Friday for the killing of a protester in a slum outside Johannesburg this week, a spokesman said.

“One officer is charged with murder, the other three who were with him during the incident face charges of defeating the ends of justice,” said police spokesman Neville Malila.

He said the charges of defeating the ends of justice were brought because the officers had failed to report the incident to the authorities.

“The four were arrested in the early hours of this morning (Friday) and will appear in court soon.”

Police authorities said the four officers have been suspended.

A 28-year-old man was killed when police fired shots at a protest march that turned violent in Durban Deep informal settlement west of Johannesburg.

The man was shot when police opened fire to disperse a crowd of demonstrators who had barricaded roads. Residents of the slum were protesting against eviction notices ordering them to vacate their homes by the end of the month.

The incident followed the shooting of four other protesters in a separate demonstration over poor municipal services in a town near Pretoria.

A police watchdog is investigating all the deaths.

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South Africa’s police are frequently accused of responding to protests with brutality, but prosecutions are rare.

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