Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

South Africans Express Solidarity with Palestinians

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

South Africans Express Solidarity with Palestinians

Article excerpt

Nearly 3,000 people from all over Gauteng, South Africa gathered a block away from the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria on March 21 to show solidarity with Palestinians. The Palestine Action Group (PAG), a coalition formed the previous week by 20 organizations, planned the march for Human Rights Day, in support of the human rights of people in countries where the most fundamental of these rights are denied.

They marched to the Union Buildings and protested Israel's military invasion and massacre of Palestinians. Protesters had planned to march from Venning Park to the U.S. Embassy and then on to the Israeli Embassy, where more speeches would be delivered. After two days of negotiations with police and Tshwane Council representatives, however, the demonstrators were denied permission to march on the embassies. The route was changed to end at the seat of government.

Speakers at the rally represented a number of the constituent PAG organizations, including the African National Congress (ANC)'s Ebrahim Ebrahim (chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on foreign affairs), Mazibuko Jara of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) vice president Joyce Pekana, Pandelani Nefolovodwe of Azanian Peoples Organization (Azapo), and Thembisa Fakude of the Palestine Solidarity Committee. …

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