Students hijack Dalai Lama march

2011-10-05 16:08

A protest march against the government’s failure to issue the Dalai Lama with a visa to attend Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday was hijacked by students who used it to highlight “injustices” such as fee increases and “worker abuses”.

The march was held at the Wits University campus in Johannesburg this afternoon.

Said protester Bankie Sebothoma (21): “I don’t have a problem with the Dalai Lama, but what about our own cleaners? Why is it hard for the (university) management to support the cleaners the same way they support the Lama issue?”

“Give Wits cleaners the same respect you are demanding for Dalai Lama,” a placard read. Another showed support for the Dalai Lama: “Why deny a man of peace visa.”

Justin van Uytrecht (30) said government’s failure to give the Dalai Lama a visa was embarrassing.

“I feel ashamed as a South African, because the Dalai Lama is like a peace leader – like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. It is like we now have our freedom and we don’t even care about other countries.”

Said Preddy Mothopeng (34): “We are saying criminals are coming to the country to sleep, people who are not adding value are coming to the country to sleep. But why is a peace maker denied (entry)?”

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