Stop the war in Iraq. South Africa.
Anti-war protests and pickets in South Africa
Beginning within an hour after reports came through of the first missiles dropping on Baghdad, AWC activists demonstrated throughout the day and night, with DSM activists participating in the round-the-clock vigil. Large members of the Muslim community joined the demonstration. The overwhelming majority of passing motorists responded enthusiastically to appeals to blow their hooters in support. During the day the crowd swelled to about 500. Later in the morning, school students from the middle-class Park Town Girls’ High School picketed from 7-8am, before school began, independently of the AWC.
On 21 March – Human Rights Day (formerly Sharpeville Day) – the AWC organised a highly successful rally of approximately 4,000 in front of the US consulate. DSM members and SSM General Secretary, Solomzi Sijora, was one of the speakers. Two other DSM members, Sikosonke and Luyanda gave interviews to television and radio. The short TV interview with Sikosonke was shown on all the major TV news bulletins throughout the day.
Cricket world cup final picketed
DSM and SSM members also distributed an anti-war leaflet at the small but lively demonstration that began in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, 23 March at the Cricket World Cup Final, targeting in particular the Australian government for its support for the war. Though small, this demonstration received extensive television coverage.
As small contingent of ANC members from the Alexandra branch joined the anti-war demonstration at the venue of the cricket match nearby at the Wanderers’ cricket ground in Johannesburg. DSM and SSM members also participated at the demonstration in front of the US Consulate in Durban.
The AWC coalition will continue its activities, although the police have refused to allow any further all-night demonstrations.
The leadership of the trade union federation, Cosatu, loyal to the ANC to the last, has unfortunately maintained a deafening silence on the war. President Mbeki has issued statements of regret over the attack on Iraq, wringing his hands while expressing the hope for a swift conclusion to the war.