Johannesburg: South African police say they shot dead two protesters when a stone-throwing crowd armed with petrol bombs attacked a police station in the north of the country.

Police spokesman Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi said at least 15 police officers were injured — three of them critically — when about 2,000 people attacked the station on Tuesday night near the sub-tropical farming town of Tzaneen in Limpopo Province.

It is not known how many protesters were injured. Nineteen police vehicles were damaged and extensive damage was caused to the police station, Mulaudzi said.

The rampage is believed by police to have been sparked by the shooting death of a teenage boy in the area, allegedly by police. Mulaudzi said the situation remained tense on Wednesday.