Law enforcement officials want bonfire night banned after the English tradition of burning Guy Fawkes on 5th November was used as an excuse for causing trouble by local youths.
In Cape Town, the public emergency communication centre said they had had over 300 calls up until 11p.m. on November fifth from people complaining about problems related with the festival, mostly connected to fireworks.
Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith said they had set up an operational centre to coordinate the activities of the police including traffic cops and public transport police working together with animal protection organisations.
As well as the fireworks that was also an incident in which vehicles were stoned ” on the corner of Military Road and Prince George Drive in Lavender Hill where approximately 100 youths gathered.”
In total they said as well as 272 incidents investigated for illegally setting off fireworks, date of intimidation, 12 of assault and three damage to property charges as well as for cases where stones were thrown.
He said: “Throughout the day yesterday, there were numerous reports of marauding youths attacking people and vehicles. The video of the incident in Elsies River, where a man was assaulted by a group of children is evidence of what plays out, year after year in many of our communities.”
The incidents of assault appear to include the photographs that were circulating on social media of a 14-year-old boy who was reportedly attacked with a brick.
The law enforcement officer added: “We are unable to quantify the costs to the individuals whose property is damaged or destroyed by the vandals who take to the streets on Guy Fawkes. A dent in a vehicle can cost thousands of rands to repair, but the psychological impact is far greater.
“Something has got to give.”
“There is absolutely no justification for this macabre celebration, and the hurt, pain and anguish it causes to so many people; not to mention the drain on City and police resources to deal with the many complaints received which detract from the many other pressing policing priorities in our city.
“I call on community leaders, schools and families to start a conversation about Guy Fawkes and the havoc it wreaks. The Safety and Security Directorate too will consider what possible contribution we can make towards changing the status quo.”
“It is time we start wiping out this misguided tradition which is being perpetuated by a minority, at the expense of the majority.”
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