The Mother City is bracing itself for the ‘mother’ of boycott demonstrations on Monday afternoon. Following two court victories in the space of one week, activists and organisers are confident ahead of the mass demonstration outside Grand West Casino, to protest US musician Pharrell William’s partnership with Woolworths. The retailer is the target for a mass consumer boycott, aimed at pressuring the company to stop trade with apartheid Israel.
Logistics organised for Monday’s protest event include fencing, safety personnel and marshals, ambulances and medics, free trains and two shuttles to assist elderly, pregnant woman and young children. Protestors will be treated neon glow-sticks, face-paint, cultural groups and artists and over 250 hand written #AreWithUs #BoycottWoolworths placards and 150 Palestinian flags.
“Members of the community can be assured that this protest event is well organised, it is going ahead and we will do so in a lawful and dignified manner,” said BDS South Africa.
Thousands of South Africans from all walks of life will gather at the event. Attendance is expected from Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Rustenburg, Pretoria, Port Shepstone, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Welkom as well as various other smaller South African towns. Various organizations including the NC4P, MJC, BDS SA, ANC, ANCYL, ANCWL, SACP, SASCO, COSAS, YCL SA, IPSA, SESKHONA, EE, UF, OSS, JVP, PSC, KZN PSF, Polokwane 4 BDS, UCT MSA, SJC, UWC PSF, AFP, KAIROS, COSATU as well as various individual trade unions.
International mobilisation, mass protests, global boycotts and specifically the cultural and sports boycott against the oppressive and racist Apartheid system in South Africa were used as ways to mobilise huge pressure on the Apartheid regime in the 1980s, largely accelerating our struggle towards freedom.
“It is in recognition of the militant and courageous internationalism of the 1980s that we take to the streets today in what will be a historic gathering – expected to be the largest protest event in South African history against any musician or artist,” said BDS SA>
“It will be a momentous step towards the maturing of the Palestinian-led international non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel movement (now in its 10th year). Specifically the protest event will highlight the consumer and cultural boycott of Israel.”
Pharrell Williams has been targeted because of his deliberate and informed decision to collaborate with Woolworths. Woolworths is a company that maintains unjustifiable trade relations with Apartheid Israel and is the current target of the biggest consumer boycott campaign seen in South Africa since democracy.
“Pharrell goes as far as describing Woolworths as a company that cares about where their products come from – while Palestinian life and land is usurped each time Woolworths unethically buys Israeli products stolen from Palestinians. Pharrell has also broken the cultural boycott of Israel by scheduling a performance in Israel in order, according to Israeli media, to “make Israelis happy.” And what of the happiness of Palestinians (and progressive peace-loving Israelis) who have called for a boycott of Israel, we ask Mr Williams?”
“If he is interested in making this a happier world Pharrell Williams can joing the non-violent BDS cultural boycott of Israel, cancelling his Israeli collaborations and joining the growing list of artists from Stevie Wonder to Lauryn Hill, Alice Walker, Roger Waters and others who have backed the non-violent BDS movement.
The organisers warned that no violent, hate speech, anti-semitism, zionism or other any other racism will be tolerated at the protest event. They said they would have a “zero-tolerance policy” to any violations of the law or constitution.
“Let us celebrate the right to expression, assembly and our solidarity with all oppressed peoples of the world – from Palestine to Mitchells Plain, we are on a good journey to make this world a better place. Are you with us?”
Free public transport is being organised for the event. There will a free trains service to Grand West for the protest on Monday. Train-users can show the Pharell protest flyer or wear a Palestine t-shirt for a free pass. Additionally, free busses are also available from the following pick up points :
1) Masjidul Miftah – Lentegeur, Mitchell’s Plain
2) Masjidur Rawbi – Portlands, Mitchell’s Plain.
3) Masjidu Taqwa – Newfields (for Hanover Park as well)
4) Masjid al-Quds – Gatesville (for surrounds- e.g. Bridgetown, Bonteheuwel, Heideveld)
5) Masjidus Salaam – St Athens Road, Athlone (for Crawford and Athlone Area)
6) Habibia Soofie Masjied -Rylands
7) Masjidus Sabr Parkwood.
Call 078 058 7698 for more information. VOC