Gugulethu AEC Press Update 30 October 2009
Yesterday we reported that the police tried to illegally ban our mass protest against the new Gugulethu Square Mall. After failing to ban our protest, they shot at us even though we were peaceful and the media saw that we were peaceful. Since then, a few details have emerged:
- They brought in an entirely new police team on Thursday. From Monday through to Wednesday, Captain Brink and his team from the Gugulethu SAPS was accompanying us and protecting us during our march and peaceful protest against the mall. On Thursday, Captain Brink and his team was removed from working with us. Instead, a police team from Bellville South was brought in. These police officers were aggressive from the very beginning. They refused to talk to us. They refused to work with us. Instead the worked against us.
- When we left the mall site at that morning after staging our protest, the police followed us. As we were crossing NY1 main road, they ordered us to disperse or they will shoot. Instead, we staged a civil disobediance sit-in on NY1. We sat right down on the road and continued our peaceful protest. Police immediately opened fire on us in full view of other journalists. Many people were shot with rubber bullets including many women and older people.
- Residents ran for cover. We did not fight. We did not even throw stones in retaliation. But as we ran, police ran after us. They shot us as we hid in neighbour’s houses. When we came out, they shot us again. Dozens were injured. Dozens were arrested. Many had to go to hospital when they were shot in the face, in the neck, and in the back.
- We also now know that the new group of police officers from Bellville came at the insistence of Mzoli Ngcawuzele and councillor Belinda Landingwe who have close connections with the police and have ordered attacks on our movement in the past.
This story is the truth. The police are lying when they say that we were violent and that there was no one hurt and no one arrested. Anyone who doubts this story can speak to any of the protesters themselves. We will be holding a mass meeting on Thursday at 17h00 and we will make time for the victims to be interviewed at this meeting. Anyone is welcome to contact us to attend.
For more information, please contact:Thozamile Tsotsobe at 078 555 8662 Bulelwa Bolsiki at 074 960 8964 Mncedisi Twalo at 078 580 8646 Thando Swakamisa at 076 498 5096 Malibongwe at 074 639 9551