Citizen reporter
5 minute read
20 Nov 2020
10:34 am

WATCH: Teargas, water cannons used to repel EFF protesters at Brackenfell High

Citizen reporter

Police agreed to allow 500 people to march to the school to hand over the memorandum, an increase from the initial 100.

EFF members being sprayed with water cannons by police at the Brackenfell High School protests on 20 November. Picture: Twitter/@EFFSouthAfrica

Water cannons, teargas, and stun grenades had to be deployed a number of times in Brackenfell, Cape Town, on Friday morning as a march to the local high school became increasingly tense.

One man had reportedly been wounded during the protest and received medical care at the scene.

Much anticipation had built up as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) made their way to Brackenfell High School to hand over a petition. 

EFF demonstrators at Brackenfell High School to hand over a memorandum. Photo: Twitter/@EFFSouthAfrica

The party accused the school of being racist after a private event was held, allegedly for white matric students only.

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A memorandum was due to be handed over to the school on Friday afternoon.

Negotiations between EFF members and senior police officials took place on how the memorandum will be handed over, with police raising concerns regarding the number of demonstrators outside the school.

An EFF demonstrator wearing a shirt that says ‘I can’t breathe’. Photo: Twitter/@EFFSouthAfrica

According to reports, police were only allowing 100 people to make their way to hand over the memorandum, as per the agreement allowing the party to organise a protest.

Police, however, eventually agreed to allow 500 people to march to the school. It is estimated that at least 2,000 demonstrators are currently at the protest.

Demonstrators being kept behind a barbed wire fence erected by police during the Brackenfell High School protest. Photo: Twitter/@EFFSouthAfrica

Stun grenades and water cannons were being used intermittently to disperse the crowds.

Video footage of the demonstrators shows that not many masks are being worn, and regular sanitising is not being practiced. 

Residents and former students were on the other side of the protest action, far away from EFF demonstrators. They, too, came out in droves to support the school and were critical of the EFF’s intentions.

Crowds were eventually dispersed, and police have blocked off roads leading into the school with barbed wire fencing. 

EFF demonstrators are accusing the police of using excessive force. EFF officials leading the demonstration, among them secretary general Marshall Dlamini, were trying to calm the protesters down.

EFF leaders who led Friday’s Brackenfell protest clash with police. Photo: Twitter/@EFFSouthAfrica

EFF branches as far as the North West and the Northern Cape joined in to support the party.

EFF demonstrators fall after police dispersed crowds. Photo: Twitter/@EFFSouthAfrica

It is reported that there are currently no students at Brackenfell High School, and that alternative arrangements have been made for matriculants to complete their exams.

Demonstrators sprayed with water cannons by police. Photo: Twitter/@EFFSouthAfrica

EFF leaders from across the country took turns to address the crowds on a podium erected at the protest, chanting “down racism, down.”

Leaders lauded the party for “decisively” arranging the protest action, and said the EFF was appealing to the “boere republic” of the Western Cape.

The address confirmed Brackenfell was just the beginning of their campaign to eradicate all alleged racism in schools.

They also made it clear they were not willing to negotiate “with anyone in this province”, and called for the collapse of the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Dlamini accused the teachers of Brackenfell of organising the contentious private event, which was arranged after the cancellation of the annual matric dance, due to Covid-19. 

Conflicting reports say that all students were invited, with others claiming that black students were not aware of the event. 

The school’s governing body earlier this month said the event was arranged by the parents of students, and that it had nothing to do with the school. 

It is alleged there was also an entrance fee to attend the event.

But Dlamini’s speech was short-lived, after a fight broke out while he was addressing EFF members. Police once again fired stun grenades to disperse the restless crowd, while Dlamini and other leaders called for calm.

Compiled by Nica Richards

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