Hillcrest resident arrested for organising protest

2008-03-29 00:00

Hillcrest resident Gordon Parkin, allegedly one of the ringleaders of angry community protests, was arrested on Tuesday.

Parkin appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on illegal gathering charges after he allegedly organised a protest outside the Hillcrest Police Station almost three weeks ago.

Residents were protesting over the rape of Kloof resident Jessica Foord by five men at a nearby dam. The men were arrested shortly after a private investigator and community members intervened in the investigation.

Parkin told Weekend Witness that his arrest was “wrongful” and that he is being targeted.

Parkin said well-known community leaders who were at the protests were not arrested.

At the suspects’ first court appearance, Parkin and angry protesters accused police of not working fast enough to apprehend criminals in the area.

Armed with a loudspeaker, Parkin shouted anti-crime messages to residents, who questioned police about why it had taken so long to make arrests.

Protesters also blocked the road outside the police station and encouraged motorists to join the protest.

Parkin told Weekend Witness that a policeman had called him on Tuesday and asked him to come to the Hillcrest Police Station for a meeting.

“I said okay because I believed it was to do with the suspects’ next court appearance. When I got there, he told me that he was going to arrest me,” he said.

Parkin was then accused of being the “ringleader” of the protest and arrested.

He said other women’s rights groups who demonstrated outside the police station were not arrested.

He said he participated in the protest because he is fed up with the crime in the area.

Parkin is due back in court on May 7.

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