Not Happy with Pharrell

22 September 2015 - 02:01 By Farren Collins

Protesters at the Pharrell Williams concert at GrandWest Casino in Cape Town yesterday branded the entertainer a "traitor" and told him to "go to hell". About 1500 people gathered outside the casino on an icy afternoon to protest the singer's collaboration with Woolworths on its "Are You With Us?" campaign.Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel in South Africa won a high court ruling on Saturday to allow it to increase the number of protesters allowed outside the event to 16000 from 150.There was a festive atmosphere, despite only a fraction of the 16000 expected protesters coming out for the demonstration.The vocal crowd was made up of political and civil groups, as well as a large number of schoolchildren and university students.National co-ordinator for BDS Muhammed Desai said the event was a success."I still think this is the biggest protest any artist visiting South Africa has ever faced," said Desai."The first victory is to say that big corporations can't get together and try to suppress the right to assembly."The second success is that this is a consistent boycott campaign that has been around for the past 10 years and we're celebrating those victories today."ANC leader in the Western Cape Marius Fransman, who attended the protest, said the governing DA was abusing its power in the province when it tried to limit the protest to only a handful of people."It's a shame that the City of Cape Town had to be taken to court for people to protest freely," Fransman said. "This is the type of abuse by the DA in the city and province. It's time we understand international politics has got to do with party political power and with the DA in this province trying to give cover to anti-Palestinian sentiment."The SAPS ensured a visible presence at the protest, but Sun International general manager for communications Michael Farr said security inside the casino was not increased for the protest."Inside we had all the normal security that we would have for a sold-out concert," said Farr."We didn't go over and beyond that because we received assurances from BDS that it would be a peaceful protest, the concert would not be disrupted and there would be no protest on GrandWest property."..

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