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South Africa: Police Harassment Continues After Gay Pride

category southern africa | gender | non-anarchist press author lunes octubre 04, 2010 01:09author by Natasha Vally - Lesbian & Gay Equality Project Report this post to the editors

Twelve people were arrested at a private gathering in Extension 14 Vosloorus at about 03h30 on the 3rd of October 2010 by the Vosloorus Police Services. Most of the twelve arrested had just returned from the annual Johannesburg Lesbian & Gay Pride Parade to join birthday celebrations of a friend's mother. The twelve have been charged with obstruction of justice and attack on the police, a charge that they have denied to both the SAPS and their legal representative from Section 27, Advocate A. Hassim.

The police initially explained that they had arrived because of loud music yet eye witnesses note that the music was turned off on their arrival. Witnesses said the police used force, including pepper spray against the party guests as well as on people already sleeping, ‘dragging them out of bed’, and having entered the private premise of Mrs Francisco without warning or warrant.

Furthermore, a witness reported that the police verbally abused and ridiculed a lesbian saying ‘there are no lesbians in Vosloo and you can now run and call 3rd Degree’, a TV show on which she appeared earlier this year discussing police harassment against LGBTI people in the township. Last year following the Ekurhuleni Pride March in Kwa-Thema, 8 lesbians reported being attacked by the police for their sexual orientation, a matter still subject for completion at the same SAPS station and Magistrate Court in Vosloorus. On Heritage weekend this year 5 lesbians and gay men, who asked the police for directions to the Soweto Pride after-party in Kliptown, were held hostage, verbally abused and driven around for hours until they agreed to sign an admission of guilt form for drunken driving. Their request to be breathalysed was declined.

Activists say they will rally against and challenge the growing homophobia at the hands of the police, the attacks against freedom of association and the rights of the media to report on these experiences. The twelve, aged between 21 and 33 years of age, will appear at the Vosloorus Magistrate Court on Tuesday, 5 October from 08h30. A public meeting to discuss these events and develop a plan of action will be held at the Love Life Offices at the J Dumani Community Hall in Ext. 14 in Vosloorus on Saturday, 9 October from 12h00.

For further details contact:

Nokhwezi Hoboyi
Treatment Action Campaign
072 064 4157 / 011 873 4130

Natasha Vally
Lesbian & Gay Equality Project
082 660 0723 / 011 487 3811

Leigh-Ann Naidoo
Forum for the Empowerment of Women
072 023 7271 / 011 339 1867

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