Hundreds of protesters waved Palestinian flags near the entrance of GrandWest Casino on Monday in the build-up to Grammy Award-winning artist Pharrell Williams’s concert.
The protest was given the green light after BDS South Africa scored a victory on Saturday when a High Court application, aimed at preventing them from getting 40 000 protesters to the event, was dismissed.
The internationally acclaimed producer and performer has come under fire for collaborating with local retail group Woolworths who have been the focus of local pro-Palestine activists for their trade with Israel.
Protesters had a concert of their own as music blared from the speakers and participants danced on the grass.
“Pharell has blood on his hands,” a representative from the South African Communist Party told the cheering masses.
“Genocide is taking place and the world is silent about this.”
A speaker from the Muslim Judicial Council described Williams as a “verraaier” [traitor].
“He is the betrayer of the Palestine blood,” he said.
“You sing you are happy; do you see the children dying by the number? What are you happy about?”
BDS campaigner Muhammad Desai slammed the supermarket and the superstar.
“Over 551 Palestinian children under 16 were killed in six weeks a year ago. Woolworths and Pharell were silent,” he said.
“Those who have gone back to Woolworths: we know who you are and where you live. Come back home.”
Desai on Monday told News24 that the #BoycottWoolworths campaign, part of the larger BDS movement, was far bigger than just a local organisation hoping to make a noise.
“The boycott is not a malicious boycott or punitive. It’s simply aimed at how we can get Israel to end its occupation according to international law,” he said.
“There are various supermarket chains, pension funds and companies around the world which have already divested from Israel.
“Over 17 EU union countries have issued warnings against companies doing business in Palestine occupied territories.” News24