SOUTH AFRICA–On Saturday 9th June 2007 a crowd of approximately 2,500 people braved the winter weather in Cape Town, South Africa to protest the 40-year old illegal Israeli military occupation of Palestine. The protest march came amidst a global wave of solidarity action marking the 40th anniversary of the Occupation, and was the culmination of a week long country-wide programme which included pickets, candle vigils and other activities aimed at raising awareness and displaying solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for national liberation.
The march was attended by members of various Palestinian solidarity groups, Trade Unions, faith-based organisations as well as the general public. The crowd walked peacefully through the Cape Town CBD with raised Palestinian flags and banners, chanting in unison for an end to the Occupation and freedom for all Palestinians. A strong emotional bond exists between South Africans and Palestinians due to the many commonalities experienced by both peoples under the previous Apartheid regime, and the current system of Occupation.
The event lasted roughly 2 hours and concluded outside the gates of the South African Parliament where a memorandum was handed over to the South African Ministry of Foreign affairs. The memorandum called for, amongst other things, the immediate withdrawal of the South African ambassador to Israel and the severing of diplomatic relations with the Zionist State. It also called for boycotts, divestment and sanctions on all Israeli goods as well as laws prohibiting South African Jewish youth from serving in Israel ‘s armed forces.
The crowd dispersed peacefully but vowed to continue in their efforts, citing former president Nelson Mandela’s famous words that ” South Africa is not free until Palestine is free”.