The bloodshed on Jan. 14 in the Skielik settlement, 100 miles northwest of Johannesburg, has ignited racial tensions that remain close to the surface more than a decade after the end of South Africa’s apartheid system.
Riot police were called in to control the dozens of black protesters who gathered outside the Swartruggens District Court, trying to push through the compound gates as 18-year-old Johan Nel made a brief appearance inside. He faces charges of murder and attempted murder.
The crowd waved signs saying ” no bail, let him rot in jail,” the South African Press Association reported. Police pushed the group was pushed to the side of the street.
Police are unclear on a motive, but Skielik’s residents allege that Nel killed out of racial hatred. Leaders of the trade union movement and African National Congress have joined demonstrations in Skielik, which is part of an area known for its game reserves, biting rural poverty and deep divide between black and white.