DLF Activists attacked at COP17:Open Letter To Ethekwini Mayor and City Manager.

Fri, 2011-12-09 11:07
Submitted by motho

see video footage here: http://vimeo.com/33344517
DLF Activists attacked at COP17

On Saturday December 3rd, the international day for a climate action
march, the 500 strong Democratic Left Front contingent made up of
activists from different parts of the country, arrived at the Botha
Park Assembly point with its banners demanding: '1 Million Climate
Jobs Now!' 'Africa is Burning, Transform the System!' and
'Listen to the People!'. Our red t-shirts said the same thing. Our
activists also prepared their own posters the night before. We had our own marshals and sound system. We were unarmed and intent on acting peacefully.

We were participating in the march to peacefully condemn the ruling
elites who are obsessed with profit making market mechanisms as the
solution to the climate crisis. Such solutions have not worked, will
not work and are taking all of humanity closer to planetary
destruction. We were also there to celebrate and amplify the call of
other components of the climate justice movements for genuine
alternatives like 100% renewable energy, binding and ambitious
emission reduction targets, climate jobs, food sovereignty, mass
public transport systems, the rights of nature and the vindication of
climate debt.

On arrival at the assembly point at 9.30am we were physically
attacked by a group of 150 youth. Our posters were torn and our
banners were also pulled down. We were also pelted with stones and
bottles. In this context we defended and restrained ourselves. The
police stood by and watched. (The story of this violence and
intimidation was covered in the Mail and Guardian online weekly.) Our
attackers wore green tracksuits and hats that were branded with the
Ethekwini Municipality logo. The tracksuits also explicitly stated
these were volunteers for COP17. It turns out that this was standard
gear issued by the City to COP17 volunteers and such volunteers were
meant to assist visitors to the City. These volunteers were meant to
be the goodwill ambassadors of the City and of South Africa.

We would like to pose the followingquestions to the Mayor and City
Manager of Ethekwini (Durban) Metropolitan Council:

(i) Why were these volunteers, who were meant to be busy with
organising COP17, allowed on to the march?

(ii) Based on our investigations it was established that these were a
group of special volunteers linked to theMayor's office and were
paid by the City. Why did the City leadership instruct these
volunteers to physically attack us and constantly disrupt the march?

(iii) Why were these volunteers brandishing ANC banners, posters (100%
Zuma) and ANC paraphernalia when they were meant to be non-party

(iv) Why should we not ask the Public Protector to investigate you for
abusing public finance to fund an ANC goon squad?

The physical attack we endured was more than an attack on the DLF. It
was an attack on our democracy, on our democratic rights and freedoms
we have as citizens to assemble and to protest peacefully. With the
world watching, the City of Durban has embarrassed South Africa and
has shown to the world the ugly side of how the ANC rules. The climate
crisis will worsen in South Africa and the world, but be assured at
every moment we will be using our democratic freedoms and rights to
struggle for climate justice and transformative solutions.

Mazibuko Jara 0836510271 and Vishwas Satgar 082 775 3420

For The Democratic Left Front National Convening Committee


See the vimeo link of the green goon attacks on activists inside th

On the 8th of December at the Durban City Hall at a so called
'consultation' between President Zuma and civil society, activists
also suffered violent attacks and intimidation by the green goons
employed by the Durban City Council as volunteers. Activists were not
allowed to wear t-shirts, carry placards or even their banners.
Instead a climate of fear was created inside the City Hall and civil
society voices were essentially stage managed or selectively chosen to vocalise their concerns.