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February 14, 2011

Clash Between South African Police, Protesters Kills 1

South African authorities say one person has been killed during a clash between police and demonstrators, who were demanding the government provide basic services.

Police spokesman Leonard Hlathi said investigators are trying to determine if the civilian was killed by police or the protesters.

Clashes took place for a second straight day Tuesday near the town of Ermelo, about 100 kilometers east of Johannesburg.

The spokesman said police were forced to fire live ammunition and rubber bullets, after demonstrators opened fire on the officers.   Authorities say the protesters also hurled rocks, burned tires, blocked roads and attacked a television crew.

The demonstrators want the government to provide services such as running water and electricity.  Millions of South Africans continue to live in severe poverty, more than 15 years after the end of apartheid.

Police arrested 33 people during the initial day of protests Monday.  The South African Press Association reports that 11 more people were arrested on Tuesday.

Similar protests have broken out in poor townships in the past.  During President Jacob Zuma's state of the nation address last week, he promised to create more jobs and move more quickly to provide running water and electricity to all citizens.