AEC Solidarity Statement Tuesday January 27, 2009
** Note: This is not an AEC march. We are supporting demands of residents and assisting in helping get the word out about their issues **
Delft’s many Rastafarians took to the streets earlier today and rallied at Delft Police Station.
The issue at hand is the many instances of police brutality and abuse Rastas suffer because of their way of life. The most common abuse is when police single them out and searching them so that they can find them in possession of Dagga (Marijuana) and extract a bribe from them.
The Delft Police are known for widespread brutality especially of poor residents and those they feel do not belong. The incident that sparked the protest was the arrest and brutal beating of 9 Delft Rastas on the 13th of January. According to residents, Captain Basson and a number of other police officers approached a group of Rastafarians who were buying food on the street. Basson immediately searched them and could not find anything on them. Basson then proceeded to yell racial slurs at them claiming the Rastas wanted to control Delft and that he would get rid of all of them. After some arguments back and forth, the police erupted, beat the group and arrested them. They were hurt so bad that many of them went to the hospital the next day when they were released.
When the 9 Rastas went to lay a charge against Basson, Delft Police refused to entertain their complaint. As a result, The Rasta Working Council, with the help of COREMO, organised todays march which took place from 13h30 until 14h30.
Members of the Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign were there in support of the rally as they have also had a number of distasteful experiences with local police officers.
For more information please contact Makhwenkwe 0835943945 or Ben at 0729271924 (COREMO)