'Black Tuesday' protest at Luthuli House
Johannesburg - A group of people dressed in black protested against the controversial protection of state information bill (POIB) outside the headquarters of the ANC in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The crowd lined the streets outside Luthuli House, quietly holding placards, which read "We have the right to know", "Stop secrecy bill" and "Let the truth be told".
Some motorists passing-by were hooting in support of the protest. Two security guards were present outside and one police van was on the scene.
The POIB will come before the National Assembly for a vote later on Tuesday.
National Press Club (NPC) chairperson Yusuf Abramjee said the day, dubbed "Black Tuesday" will mark the start of dark days for freedom of speech, freedom of expression and media freedom.
"We have received thousands of messages of support from across SA and it's time that we get a loud and clear message to government that we will not sit back and watch our Constitutional rights being infringed," he said.
Some political parties, many NGOs, the Right2Know campaign and the SA National Editors Forum supported the Black Tuesday initiative, he said.
The NPC asked people opposed to the bill to wear black clothes, a black ribbon or a black armband.
It named the campaign "Black Tuesday", based on what became known as "Black Wednesday" - October 19 1977, when the apartheid government banned The World, the Sunday World and a Christian publication Pro Veritas, as well as almost 20 people and organisations associated with the black consciousness movement.
The ANC'S parliamentary caucus dismissed the protest as a "distortion of facts".
"The only result this unfortunate comparison and the planned campaign, in which people are urged to dress in black will achieve is to dilute the real history of the Black Wednesday and insult the victims of apartheid's barbaric laws," ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said on Monday.
- Are you protesting? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos