NC4P PRESS ALERT: Four #BoycottWoolworths activists arrested in Cape Town
(Sunday, 21 November 2014)
Find copy of statement attached.
Four #BoycottWoolworths activists who putatively staged a non-violent and peaceful protest the Woolworths store in Cavendish Mall in Cape Town have been arrested. The arrests come after Woolworths first detained the activists and held the activists in an in-store holding room at Cavendish Mall.
There is an all-day 24 hour vigil outside the Claremont Police Station in solidarity with the detained activists until their release. Members of the community are encouraged to join the #BoycottWoolworths 24 hour all-day protest vigil at the Claremont Police Station (Landsdowne Road, Claremont, Cape Town) demanding the release of the activists. For information contact Clint on 0824231348
Woolworths, from reports received, called the South African Police Services (SAPS) to arrest the #BoycottWoolworths activists falsely accusing the activists of being members of the Palestine human rights organization BDS South Africa and of being in contempt of a recent BDS South Africa court order. The arrested activists are not members of BDS South Africa and, in fact, belong to Action Forum 4 Palestine (AF4P) – entirely unrelated to BDS South Africa. BDS South Africa, as an organisation, has agreed in good faith through a court order to refrain from in-store Woolworths protest actions. The court order, however, does not extend to other organisations and/or entities which are not a part of BDS South Africa. Woolworths it would seem, in the story that it sells to police when they are called in, is deliberately trying to obfuscate the court order by broadening it to cover other organisations and individuals. The legal representatives of the activists have advised laying charges of wrongful arrest.
This is not the first time that Woolworths has called the police to arrest activists for staging non-violent #BoycottWoolworths protest actions. In October #BoycottWoolworths actions led to the arrest of over 60 #BoycottWoolworths activists including minors under the age of 16 in Johannesburg. The Johannesburg activists (including the minors) were detained at Hillbrow Police Station but later released without charge. In another related incident last month in November, #BoycottWoolworths activists were arrested outside a Woolworths store in Boksburg. The Boksburg activists spent a night in jail before being released with all charges being dropped the next day.
Woolworths continues to act in a high-handed way. Instead of ending trade relations with apartheid Israel, it resorts to force and silencing of dissent. If Woolworths ended trade ties with Israel, there would be no reason for human rights organisations and activists to continue the regular protests and actions against the retailer. Woolworths can easily find alternative local suppliers for the products it currently sources from Apartheid Israel.
The National Coalition 4 Palestine (NC4P) calls on all progressive and justice loving people to support the activists detained at Claremont Police Station. Supporters can also tweet @Woolworths_SA on Twitter using the hashtags #BoycottWoolworths demanding the release of the activists.
PRESS ALERT RELEASED BY: Reverend Edwin Arrison, National Coalition 4 Palestine Chairperson
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Clint Le Bruyns on 0824231348