This is the second attack on peacefully demonstrating members of civil society in the last week, here in Durban. The first was during the march on Saturday on the Global Day of Action: ANC Youth League members, also wearing COP 17 volunteer uniforms, attacked protesters.
Press Release: Pro-Zuma Supporters Physically Attack Civil Society at Durban Townhall Meeting on Climate Change.
groundWork, Earthlife Africa Jhb
8th of Dec. 2011
President Zuma watches as Supporters Assault Peaceful Demonstrators
Twenty minutes ago and in a meeting designed for engagement between President Zuma and communities & civil society, violence broke out when peaceful civil society demonstrators silently held up signs asking “Zuma to stand with Africa”. Pro-Zuma supporters, many wearing the uniforms of COP17 volunteers then attacked the demonstrators in an act of mob violence.
Demonstrators were roughed up and some had to flee the hall.
While all of this went on, President Zuma sat up on the podium and remained quiet. Furthermore, it took nearly ten minutes before police entered the hall to restore order.
Siziwe Khanyile of groundWork states, “This was our event, organised to communicate with President Zuma. We were then abused, kicked out, robbed, and manhandled by Zuma supporters disguised as COP17 volunteers.”
Tristen Taylor of Earthlife Africa Jhb states, “This was a terrible display of mob violence that aim to suppress the democratic rights of citizens of this country. It happened in front of the President of this country, and disgraces this country in front of the eyes of the world at time when we should be solving the problem of climate change.”
For more information, please contact:
Climate Justice and Energy Campaigner
groundWork, Friends of the Earth, South Africa
Tel:+27 33 342 5662
Fax: +27 33 342 5665
Cell: +27 73 830 8173
Earthlife Africa Jhb
Cell: +27 84 250 2434