Marizka Coetzer
Journalist
2 minute read
23 Jul 2020
2:48 pm

WATCH: Protesters on illegal march against farm murders in Pretoria

Marizka Coetzer

The Tshwane metro police had declined the application for the march in awareness of farm murders on two days before.

Image: Wilna du Plessis

A group of about 600 protesters, who “illegally” marched from the Voortrekker Monument to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Saturday, 18 July, said they would do so again if the government do not take action against farm murders in the country.

The group went ahead with the march even though organisers cancelled it after the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) denied their application, citing Covid-19 restrictions.

“If we don’t get answers or a plan from the government we will march again,” said Justin Behr, one of the marchers.

Behr said no arrests were made on the day of the protest.

Devon Hofmeyr, one of the organisers of the Pretoria march, took to Facebook to call off the march, explaining he feared marchers would be arrested.

Despite Hofmeyr’s call to take the march to social media, hundreds of protesters still showed up and marched to the Union Buildings.

“By Friday afternoon marchers contacted me and said they will march on Saturday, even if they had to do it alone,” Justin Behr told Rekord.

Behr said he could not let the marchers and bikers march alone and thus decided to go to the Voortrekker Monument that morning where he was met by hundreds of marchers ready to go.

The march proceeded peacefully and ended at the Union Buildings.

“When we got there, the police riot squad was already waiting for us. They were, however, peaceful and very respectful. No one was arrested on the day or since then that I know of.”

Behr said he was, however, contacted by a police inspector to make a statement regarding a case which was opened, but it is not clear what the nature of the case is.

The TMPD declined the application for the planned march in awareness of farm murders on 16 July.

“Should this march go ahead, it will be regarded as illegal,” TMPD spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said at the time.

He warned protesters not to engage in any marches or face the consequences.

Mahamba has yet to comment on the march going ahead without permission.

Farm murders were in the spotlight this week as a group handed over a memorandum to parliament in Cape Town in which they demanded answers from the government following a spike in farm murders and attacks across the country under the current lockdown.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s live briefing to parliament on 22 July was bombarded with more than 2,000 comments to stop farm murders.

“Well done,” Hofmeyr wrote in a Facebook post last night.

“We can proudly say tonight that we have the ‘parliament disrupt’. That poor MP could no longer read from her paper afterwards. And, guess what, no one threw us out of parliament.”

This article first appeared on Rekord East and was republished with permission.

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