Cape Town cops use water cannon on illegal protesters

EXCLUSIVE: Protestors loot shops in Cape Town

A planned protest against service delivery descended into chaos in the Cape Town CBD today. Thousands of protesters ran amok, looting shops and stalls in St. George's Mall.

CAPE TOWN - Police are using water cannon to disperse an illegal service protest in Cape Town’s city center.

The city earlier turned down an application by the Ses’khona people&39;s rights movement to march to provincial legislature over safety concerns.

Two marches in the CBD by the same group last year led to looting and the damage of city property.

eNCA reporter Athi Mtongana said police has closed roads in the vicinity of the city centre and that protesters were reluctant to disperse. She also heard unconfirmed reports of gunfire on Grand Parade.

Police had been on high alert after prior threats of the illegal march taking place despite city officials having turned down the application to demonstrate against a lack of housing and sanitation.

A housing protest in October last year turned violent when demonstrators went on the rampage, damaging property and looting stalls in the city centre.