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CWI Appeal: Nigeria Members Arrested
Appeal to all sections of the Committee for a Workers' International
From: Committee for a Workers' International (CWI)
Members of the Democratic Socialist Movement, our section in South Africa contacted us yesterday to report the violent breakup of a peaceful protest against housing conditions and the subsequent arrest of 14 demonstrators from Mount Moriah, outside Durban.
The struggle to improve the terrible housing conditions is in its fourth year. The residents set up a community organisation that leads the struggle. There are two DSM members on the coordinating committee of this organisation.
The demonstrators, who were waiting to get on a bus to travel to the municipality that is in charge of the housing scheme, were denied the right to board the bus.
Despite the fact that they showed the police the legal notice permitting them to demonstrate, the police said the permission was not accurate and subsequently, they declared the demo illegal.
The demonstrators were given ten minutes to leave. When they insisted on their democratic right to protest and refused to leave, the police started arresting people.
In the course of the arrests, two men were run down by police cars and were hospitalised. Another 14 are arrested, among them Nokulunga Gumede, a member of the DSM. They are charged with having organized an illegal gathering and for having organised traffic blockades.
According to our lawyer, they can be held in prison for 48 working hours before they are taken to court. According to the South African constitution, everybody has got the right to assemble and demonstrate peacefully.
We ask the sections to send letters of protest and make phone calls of protest to Phoenix Police Station, defending the right to protest and demanding the immediate release of the 14. We should also demand that those who are in hospital will be treated free of charge.
Please send protest letters to: Phoenix Police Station, fax: 002731 5082369, phone 002731 5082300
Thanks in advance,
CWI website: www.socialistworld.net
Nigeria section website: www.socialistnigeria.org
In The Socialist 3 April 2004:
Workplace news and events
International socialist news and analysis