Protest at Pharrell’s concert to go ahead

Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams

Concert goers at US star Pharrell Williams’ Cape Town show will be greeted by an expected 16 000 anti-Israel protesters, thanks to a last-minute court ruling yesterday.

After a flurry of legal applications, the Western Cape High Court yesterday decided that 16 000 anti-Woolworths protesters would be allowed outside the concert venue – GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World – tomorrow.

Judge Siraj Desai ruled that the City of Cape Town’s permit limiting pro-Palestine BDS protesters at the venue to 150 was unconstitutional, and ordered the city to pay legal costs.

BDS coordinator Muhammed Desai, who is not related to the judge, told City Press he felt confident and elated after the court victory yesterday.

“We want to give people an opportunity to be on the right side of history,” he said.

He said Williams’ fans need not be afraid because the protest would be peaceful.

BDS is planning “the largest protest any artist has faced in South Africa since the dawn of democracy” and said they would start busing activists to the concert venue from 3pm.

The movement is targeting Williams’ South African tour because he is an ambassador for Woolworths, which BDS criticises for stocking products from Israel.

This week, Sun International, owners of the concert venue, turned to the high court in a bid to squash the planned protest.

At a press conference on Wednesday, provincial labour federation Cosatu head Tony Ehrenreich told journalists that Woolworths, GrandWest and the City of Cape Town were “conspiring to undermine BDS’s progressive agenda for Palestinian people”.

Woolworths has in the past responded by saying that other local retail franchises also stock products from Israel.


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