Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Police and World Cup stewards clash in South Africa

A woman is treated by colleagues after tear gas was fired by police and riot squads during a protest. (AP)

Armed riot police charged into hundreds of stewards at a World Cup stadium to break up a protest about low wages.

Police appeared to set off two percussive grenades, causing loud bangs, to drive the protesters out of a car park under the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, hours after Germany beat Australia 4-0 in Group D.

There was no immediate word of any injuries or arrests at the protest.

Reporters saw about 30 riot police charge into the crowd to drive protesters out of the stadium. While calm quickly returned, some of the security stewards, wearing orange and green jackets, continued milling around outside.

A photographer said police fired tear gas at protesters outside the stadium. A nearby street was littered with rubbish where the protesters were forced away. Police were called after hundreds of angry stewards gathered to complain about their wages.

"We left our homes at seven in the morning and now it is nearly one o'clock," said Vincent Mkize.

"In the dry run, they didn't want to tell us how much we would get."

Another of the stewards, Fanak Falakhebuengu, said he had heard they would be paid £134 a day but were only getting just over £17.

"They were supposed to give us 1,500 (rand), that's what Fifa told us and they gave us 190. We are working from 12 o'clock until now," said another man who asked not to be named. He ran from police before he could give his name.

Fifa did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment. The police command set up in Johannesburg for World Cup-related matters had not received an official report.

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