PICS: Protesters, BLF clash outside Gupta religious event

Crime & Courts
Johannesburg – The Johannesburg Against Injustice (JAI) movement said on Monday it was considering legal options against Andile Mngxitama's Black First Land First (BLF) and the Gupta family in a bid to stop them from harassing its members.

"We are considering our legal options including obtaining a court order restraining the BLF and the Gupta family from intimidating and harassing our organisation and its members," the JAI said in a statement.

This comes after JAI and BLF members nearly came to blows during a demonstration against the Gupta Katha on Sunday outside the Saxonwold Military Museum on Sunday. The JAI, a group of political, civic and youth activists, accused the BLF of attacking its peaceful protest against the religious event organised by the controversial Gupta family. Police were called to intervene.

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JMPD officers intervene in scuffles between JAI and members of Black First Land First movement.Scuffles ensue between JAI and BLF members at Gupta Katha outside Saxonwold Military Museum on Sunday (Pic supplied: JAI)Members of the Johannesburg Against Injustice movement demonstrating against Gupta Katha outside Saxonwold Military Museum on Sunday (Pic supplied: JAI)BLF members arrive at Gupta Katha in two taxis (Pic supplied: JAI)

The JAI was objecting to the Guptas hosting of the Katha. They claimed the event was at odds with the Gupta family because it "teaches people not to be greedy".

On Saturday, the Gurujati Network instructed its members to stay away from the event.

In a statement JAI said that at least 40 of its members were staging a peaceful placard demonstration to highlight their opposition to the activities of the Gupta family when they were attacked by BLF members on Sunday.

"Members of the Black First Land First (BLF) movement arrived in two minibus taxis and proceeded to physically and verbally attack our members including a veteran of the Congress movement Mr. Prema Naidoo and members of various religious organisations," the JAI said. 

"These knobkerrie, stick and sjambok wielding BLF members made it clear to us that they were attacking our members under the instructions of the Gupta family. Some members of the Gupta organisation who were inside the vicinity of the museum joined the fray and threatened women protesters."

The JAI said it respected the rights of the Gupta family to engage in worship and appealed to them to respect its right to protest peacefully.

Responding to the allegations, the BLF national coordinating committee blamed Sipho Pityana's Save SA movement, saying that Save SA was circulating a statement devoid of any truth on social media under the name of JAI.

"It has come to the attention of Black First Land First (BLF) that the civil society arm of white monopoly capital, Save South Africa (Save SA), is spreading lies about our movement," BLF said.

"Some of the Save SA demonstrators made it clear that they didn't agree with the demonstration and we're in fact paid to protest against a religious event they didn't even understand.

"BLF was asked specifically by the community of Lodium to protect it against what they called "the hired thugs of Johann Rupert".

BLF said it was called to assist the community after "Johann Rupert's thugs had forced some community members out of a bus which was going to the Military Museum where a religious event was to be held".

BLF said it would continue to defend and protect anyone who comes under attack from whites, including "protecting the Gupta family among other targets of White monopoly capital and its defenders".

"When real issues which affect our people are being addressed, outfits such as Save SA and its bogus extensions like the Gujarati Network South Africa and Johannesburg Against Injustice are nowhere to be seen," the BLF said.

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