Cops accused of disregarding the law

Pretoria - The Tshwane metro police decision to stop a picket outside the Seriti inquiry was a flagrant disregard for the right to protest, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

Patricia Erasmus, for the Right2Know Campaign said the matter was urgent and of significant importance.

File photo: Schalk van Zuydam. Credit: AP

“We did not want to come to court. This is a last resort. We tried to negotiate with the respondents (Tshwane), saying to them 'if we can't picket at the commission, can we picket somewhere else',” said Erasmus.

“The issue of urgency has been occasioned by the respondents, by their unwillingness to negotiate.”

She said the metro police were flouting the Gatherings Act.

The Campaign wants to picket outside the commission when former president Thabo Mbeki testifies at the inquiry probing the controversial 1999 arms deal.

The Right2Know Campaign said on Wednesday it had no choice but to bring the appeal.

The R2K Campaign said metro police claimed they had already granted two other organisations permission to picket and three units of police officers would be deployed. - Sapa