Cape Town gathering was peaceful - cop

2014-07-23 21:04
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Cape Town protesters arrested

Instigators of the illegal protest in Cape Town have been taken into police custody. See the pictures.

Cape Town - A gathering of people chained to the stairs of the Cape Town civic centre entrance last year was peaceful, a policeman told the city's magistrate's court on Wednesday.

Warrant Officer Jacob Pietersen testified that he and another officer had been called to the centre on 11 September because there was a "blockage of people".

When they got there around noon, he saw around 40 people singing, dancing and holding placards.

"We saw that some of the protesters were forming a human chain to prevent people from entering or leaving the civic centre."

He said they used padlocks and chains to secure themselves to the railings and refused to leave after two warnings.

Pietersen was testifying on the first day of the trial of 21 Social Justice Coalition members charged with contravening the Regulations of Gatherings Act (RGA).

They admitted to convening and attending the gathering but pleaded not guilty on the basis that their actions were not criminal.

They had wanted to speak to Mayor Patricia de Lille in person about their frustration at the city's perceived inaction over proper sanitation in informal settlements.

Pietersen said around 12 police officers ended up cutting the chains.

He insisted only those on the chains were arrested and that those standing on the side for support ran away.

The group's lawyer Michael Bishop asked about the group's conduct.

Pietersen replied that they were fully co-operative and that he did not feel threatened in any way.

Bishop put it to him that he was mistaken about the size of the group, who was involved, and the assumption that they were blocking the entrance.

The lawyer said the group could easily lift their chained arms to allow people past.

Pietersen stuck to his version that the chain was impenetrable and that members of the public had been turned away.

It is the group's argument that the RGA does not prohibit a gathering for which no notice has been given.

They would argue that sections of the act were thus inconsistent with the Constitution in that it criminalised a failure to give notice of a gathering.

"The accused will argue that criminalising peaceful, unarmed gatherings merely because no notice was given is unconstitutional," their affidavit read.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    cape town  |  service delivery  |  protests

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
4 real car inventions that seem like science fiction

Vehicle design and tech have come so far so fast, that what seemed impossible has become reality. These are some of the fun and exciting innovations that have found their way into vehicle tech.

/News
 

10 most expensive cars In the world

This is car porn at its best!

 
 

Luxury living

Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Watch: Flying first class has never been this luxurious!
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are active, busy and on a mission today. There may be a special person you wish to entertain and may put in the extra effort...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.