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Court bans Woolworths protests

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Pro-Palestine activists have been banned from protesting in Woolworths stores, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled on Tuesday.

The order prevents members of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions SA (BDS SA) from organising, co-ordinating or encouraging any form of protest action in the stores.

It also orders representatives of the two groups to meet face-to-face by December 10 “in an attempt to settle the entire matter”.

BDS SA initiated a campaign to boycott Woolworths over its trade relations with Israel following the war in Gaza.

On November 14, Woolworths applied for a court interdict to prevent activists from protesting inside its stores.

Woolworths welcomed the ruling.

“Woolworths welcomes the court decision to protect our customers and employees from unlawful BDS in-store protests,” group director of retail operations Paula Disberry said in a statement.

“Woolworths respects the constitutional rights of protesters to express their views lawfully without infringing the right of others. We trust that BDS will respect the decision of the court,” she said.

BDS regarded the court’s decision as a “positive development”.

“Woolworths arrogantly insisted for the last four months that they ‘cannot see what a meeting would achieve’,” BDS’s Kwara Kekana said.

“This court order affirms BDS SA’s stance and we looking forward to meeting with the management of Woolworths to make our case for why Woolworths should terminate its trade relations with Israel.” SAPA

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