Woolworths Panics Ahead of Pharrell Williams SA Tour
01 September 2015

Ahead of the US artist Pharrell William’s upcoming Woolworths SA marketing trip the company has taken to heavy handed tactics against #BoycottWoolworths activists and campaigners who belong to various organizations. 

Yesterday the company sent a legal letter to BDS South Africa threatening to take the organization to court (see attached), it has issued restriction orders against activists and, over this past weekend, even unlawfully detained a Christian reverend who was eventually released. 

Ahead of the US artist Pharrell William’s Woolworths marketing trip activists have ramped up their protests. In response, Woolworths has become more desperate in its attempts to suppress the groundswell of pickets, till-jams and other protest activities. 

Over the past weekend the company’s stores were hit by pickets, “till-jams” and other protest actions across South Africa. Woolworths branches in Johannesburg (click here), Auckland Park (click here), Hammanskraal (click here), Vryheid (click here) Durban (click here), Bloemfontein (click here), Shelly Beach/Port Shepstone (click here) and elsewhere in the country were affected on one of the company’s busiest trading days.
The choice of protest actions varied, but increasingly activists and organizations appear to be carrying out “till-jams”. Till-jams are an anti-apartheid inspired civil disobedience and non-violent action where activists and consumers fill up their trolleys with goods, take it to the check out tills and then refuse to pay in protest against that stores’s trade relationship. Multiple till-jams are often carried out simultaneously at all checkout tills bringing the store to a grind.
Last week in a widely publicized action, anti-apartheid icon, Denis Goldberg carried out a till-jam action at the Constantia branch of Woolworths. Goldberg’s endorsement and participation in a till jam seems to have encouraged other activists and consumers.
Over the weekend Woolworths called police to several of their stores demanding that activists be arrested. In the Western Cape, Woolworths unlawfully detained a Christian Reverend for over an hour and attempted to force the police to arrest her and her (click here). Despite demands from Woolworths management that the police must “arrest them" and in accordance with the law, the police refused to arrest the activists, pointing out that no crime was committed. Reverend June Dolly has laid a charge of unlawful detention against the management of the Cavendish branch of Woolworths.
Suraya Dadoo: + 27 (0) 11 8527301
Clint Le Bruyns: + 27 (0) 82 423 1348  

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