[Marxism] [Fwd: POLICE VIOLENCE & MASS ARRESTS AT SERVICE DELIVERY PROTEST IN BOIKETLONG (SEBOKENG)]
glparramatta at greenleft.org.au
Tue Aug 14 05:52:13 MDT 2007
ANTI-PRIVATISATION FORUM & COALITION AGAINST WATER PRIVATISATION
Tuesday14th August 2007
Service Delivery-Housing Protest by community of Boiketlong (in
Sebokeng- Vaal) attacked by police this morning.
35 arrested (5 of whom were injured by rubber bullets) charged with
public violence and illegal gathering.
Heavily armed police continue to harass APF and community leaders and
Early this morning, over 1000 residents of the ‘informal settlement’ of
Boiketlong (in Sebokeng – Vaal) - under the banner of the APF and the
CAWP - embarked on a service delivery-housing protest. Instead of
listening and talking with the protesting residents, police opened fire
at random on the crowd. Many were shot with rubber bullets while running
away, others arrested as they tried to return to their homes. In all, 35
people have been arrested (including five of those injured who are now
receiving medical attention) and are presently being held in the
Sebokeng Police Station. Police have indicated that they are being
charged with public violence and illegal gathering and will appear in
court tomorrow for a bail hearing (the police have refused free bail).
The APF/CAWP will post bail for those arrested and will fight the
charges in court, as we have done with all other similar arrests of
residents which have been made as a result of service delivery protests
in several Gauteng communities over the last few weeks. Less than an
hour ago, 9 APF and community leaders (including APF Chairperson, Bricks
Mokolo) were then arrested for simply addressing a community gathering.
They have been subsequently released without charge, However, heavily
armed police are continuing to harass Boiketlong residents in an attempt
to try and prevent them from meeting and discussing the situation and
protesting the arrests already made.
Once again, the actions of the police have been wholly unacceptable and
completely out of proportion to the supposed ‘threat’ posed by such a
protest. What we are witnessing again and again in poor community after
poor community, is that the police and government officials treating the
legitimate grievances and protests over service delivery, of the various
communities, with contempt and arrogance. The Boiketlong action was (as
has been the case elsewhere) the latest in a series of attempts over the
last few months, by community residents, to highlight the complete
failure of government to provide housing and decent services in their
community. Residents have used every available avenue to
highlight/publicise their demands for service delivery, only and always
to be met with a deafly silence and to be told that they must shut up
and continue to ‘wait’ (as they have been doing for many years) for
government to come back to them on their repeated promises of
housing-service delivery. Indeed, the police are so determined to ‘stamp
out’ any free expression of dissent, that they are now arresting leaders
who are doing nothing more than addressing a gathering of residents.
THIS MUST STOP! If things continue the way they are, we will soon have
an effective police state existing in poor communities!
Problems around service delivery which are affecting hundreds of poor
communities across this country are not going to go away because
government doesn’t like them or because police decided to try and smash
any legitimate protest and resistance. There will only be more mass
actions and protests as long as the government does nothing to seriously
address the concerns and demands of those communities, and come up with
concrete plans in which the communities and their organisations are
included as an equal and legitimate partner.
STOP POLICE VIOLENCE AGAINST POOR COMMUNITIES!
DEFEND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND PROTEST!
SERVICE DELIVERY NOW!
For further comment/information contact:
CAWP Organiser Patra Sindane (who has been arrested) on 073-052-7005:
APF Chairperson Bricks Mokolo on 072 175-8948
Community activist Mish on 079 812-4724
More information about the Marxism