Posted by News Express | 29 June 2013 | 3,975 times
Hundreds of people protesting against US President Barack Obama’s visit to South Africa have clashed with the country’s police, leading to the wounding of at least one and arrest of another.
“One person has been wounded and another arrested after police fired stun grenades at hundreds of anti-Obama protesters,” says a South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) report on Obama’s visit to the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus. Obama addressed students who form part of the Young African Leaders Initiative at the university.
The report said the protesters were against an honourary doctorate awarded the US President by the university.
The town hall meeting held by Obama also “caused small protests amongst students of the university who objected to Obama’s visit at the time when they say the intake of South African universities is not representative of the country’s racial mix,” the report said, adding:
“Other students accused Obama of human rights violations and felt that the doctorate should not have been awarded.
“Protesters at the Soweto campus shouted ‘Go back Obama’ and carried posters that showed Obama with a Hitler moustache, others held posters that read ‘Free the Cuban 5’.
“South African critics of Obama have focused in particular on his support for US drone strikes overseas, which they say have killed hundreds of innocent civilians, and his failure to fulfil a pledge to close the U.S. military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.”
Obama is in South Africa on the second stop of a three-nation Africa tour that has taken him to Senegal and will still take him to Tanzania.
Reacting to the wave of protests greeting Obama, Gwede Mantashe, secretary-general of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), said that people have the right to protest but that they must allow government to continue with its work.
His words: “Protests on their own never deliver results. You must always engage people you agree and disagree with. It is quite an important visit both in diplomatic and economic terms. It is improving the relationship that will have an impact on multilateral institutions and have an impact on our effort to creating more jobs. There are already 600 American companies in the country that have created 150,000 jobs; we need more if we can have double that number of jobs all the better for south Africans.”
•Photo shows Obama at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus.
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