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(en) South Africa: APF members arrested for peaceful protest andsubsequently released

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 23 Mar 2004 22:02:17 +0100 (CET)


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After 14 hours in detention, without food, the last of the Constitution
Hill 52 emerged from John Vorster Square/Johannesburg Central Police Station
at 1 am this morning. We have been ordered to appear in Hillbrow Magistrates'
Court at 8:30 am tomorrow, Tuesday 23 March, to face charges of 'illegal
gathering' - getting together on a street corner! The neoliberal South
African state is obviously determined to show its commitment to human
rights, and we will lose no opportunity to tell the world what '10 years
of democracy' really means to the South African working class. Thanks to
all those who contributed bail funds; we look forward to your continuing
support.
Below please find the media release of the Anti-Privatisation Forum.
In Struggle
James Pendlebury

Anarchist Black Cross/Anti-Repression Network (ABC/ARN) activist; one of
the Constitution Hill 52
================
MEDIA RELEASE: 52 ARRESTED AT OPENING OF CONSTITUTIONAL HILL

52 MEMBERS OF APF ARRESTED AT CONSTITUTION HILL, INCLUDING 6 CHILDREN

Issued by the Anti-War Coalition

This morning (21 March 2004) 52 members of the Anti-Privatisation Forum,
including 6 children, were arrested and charged with participating in an
illegal gathering. This includes key members of the APF leadership such as
John Appolis, Chairperson of the APF, and Rob Rees, APF Deputy Secretary.
They are currently being transported to Johannesburg Central Police Station
for processing. It is outrageous that at the same time that the government
celebrates constitutional and human rights, it decides to arrest 52 people
who were peacefully gathered outside of Constitution Hill. It seems that
today, standing on a public street, is becoming a crime.

The arrest comes after representatives from the APF in Soweto, Vosloorus
and Thembelihle, amongst other communities, were forcefully prevented in
their communities from getting onto the buses that would transport them
to Constitution Hill for a peaceful demonstration. Furthermore, APF
representatives from Durban
Roodepoort Deep, who had gathered at the Workers? Library, were forced to
give their fingerprints for the police to run them through their Crime
Detection System, despite not having done anything illegal. These
representatives were further prevented from proceeding to Constitutional
Hill.

This afternoon, APF representatives and supporters gathered at Hillbrow
Police Station were shot at with pump guns as they tried to follow their
comrades to Johannesburg Central Police Station. They were asked to disperse
in 3 minutes, one by one, and as they did the police began to shoot at
them.
One APF representative was wounded and other reps are in the process of
taking him to Johannesburg Hospital.

It is ironic that people's constitutional right to assembly and protest are
being violated exactly at the time that the government celebrates these same
rights. The APF strongly condemns this action by the government and will
continue its fight for the protection and access to basic socio-economic
and human rights. No one, no matter how powerful, can take away these rights
from the majority!

THE STRUGGLE FOR BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS CONTINUES!

For more information, please contact Dale McKinley on 072 429 4086,
Prishani on 073 541 8172 or 083 438 2964

From: Griffin <zabalaza-A-union.org.za>


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