Nothing normal about militarisation of Parliament - R2K

2017-02-08 12:20
Soldiers rehearse before a previous State of the Nation Address. (File, Netwerk24)

Soldiers rehearse before a previous State of the Nation Address. (File, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – There is nothing normal about the "trend of securitisation and militarisation" at Parliament, lobby group Right2Know has said.

Responding to President Jacob Zuma's announcement of the deployment of 441 South African National Defence Force members ahead of his State of the Nation Address, R2K condemned the security clampdown in and around Parliament.

"The public deserves answers to some basic questions: what legitimate security threats exist that justify deploying the military? What functions will they perform? How many police are being deployed, from which areas, and what are the safety implications for communities that have fever police on the streets as a result?" R2K said on Wednesday.

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The trend of securitisation and militarisation, which included the deployment of the army, was not new, the group said.

"Each year, we have seen the securocrats ramping up 'security measures' around Parliament to new levels - and each time the public is told that this is 'normal'. Hundreds of police, called from across the country to the streets around Parliament.

"Barbed wire and water cannons to meet protesters. Riot police to drag out troublemaking MPs. Signal jamming from the State Security Agency. Interference with the television and audio feed. Restrictions on the movement of journalists," were classified as normal every year, R2K said.

"But there is nothing normal about this."

The lobby group said the deployment was a feature of a clampdown, with the aim of shielding the president from political embarrassment and shutting out voices of dissent.

"It is not just in Parliament. It is on our streets, and in our communities. It is on our campuses too. These shows of force are the efforts of paranoid and fearful leaders, whose insecurity threatens everyone's freedoms. And if we do not challenge the creep of securocratic tendencies into our democratic spaces, it will continue until there is no democracy left."

Read more on:    parliament  |  r2k  |  sandf  |  cape town  |  sona 2017

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