Rondebosch protesters in court

2012-01-30 11:01
Cape Town - A backyarder group, who had their protest on Rondebosch Common in Cape Town dispersed by the police last week, are due to appear in court on Monday.

The 41 Mandela Park Backyarders demonstrators will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on charges of public violence.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille had promised to come down hard on the group if their protest went ahead.

Organisers of the protest said they would lodge a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission, claiming that the city’s show of force was "overkill" and "illegal".

"We were, with the help of some dedicated lawyers, able to secure the release of 41 of the people arrested," the group said in a statement.

"The police are still refusing to release one protester however, possibly because Patricia de Lille has been gunning for him."

No permission to protest

According to the Cape Times newspaper, the police, who outnumbered the small group of protesters, sprayed blue dye on the crowd to disperse them. The group had not obtained permission to protest.

According to the organisers, Mario Wanza, leader of the backyarder group, remained behind bars at Manenberg police station over the weekend ahead of his court appearance in Athlone on Monday.

Mayoral committee member Grant Pascoe said the police dealt with matters of public order and the arrests were not carried out on De Lille’s instructions.

"Our guys were there as back-up," he told the Cape Times.

"It’s difficult to say why SAPS reacted the way they did. But in this instance, Wanza failed to meet the requirements of the Gatherings Act,” Pascoe said.

Group to approach HRC

"But I want to categorically state that (De Lille) said our law enforcement guys must not act heavy-handedly.

"(The) mayor said ‘no physicality’," Pascoe said.

One of the Mandela Park Backyarders' organisers, Richard October, said the group would approach the HRC today.

"One person is still under arrest and that’s (Wanza). From what we understand, it is De Lille who is personalising this matter and making it about Wanza," he said.
- SAPA
Read more on:    patricia de lille  |  cape town  |  housing  |  protests
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