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Johannesburg - A backlash erupted on Twitter as marches were held in a number of cities on Thursday by a grouping that gathered in protest against the “oppression” and “slaughter” of white people.
In Cape Town, Red October protesters marched from Keizersgracht to Parliament, where they released red balloons.
Red October, which is supported by musician Steve Hofmeyr, was largely slammed as “racist” on social media, with messages of disbelief and anger.
The #RedOctober hashtag trended on Twitter across South Africa.
By late afternoon, an online petition had been started “To all South Africans: Let’s shut down Red October!”, in an effort to have its Facebook page removed.
According to the Red October website, the marches had been organised to let everyone know “that we have had enough”.
“No longer will we be silent about the oppression of the White South African Ethnic Minority! No longer will we silently endure the killing of our people on our farms and in our towns and cities,” read its petition.
Their grievances included “destruction of our infrastructure; our filthy government hospitals; our pathetic educational system; dangerous neighbourhoods; and a disintegrating road network”.
As an ethnic minority, said Red October, white people were entitled to protection of their rights as enshrined in the constitution.
Statistics don’t support the grouping’s claim of “oppression” and “slaughter”.
An AfricaCheck report released earlier this year showed that black people were far more likely to be murder victims than white people.
It cited statistics which showed 87 percent of murder victims were black, while just 2 percent were white.
And Census 2011 statistics showed that white-headed households had annual incomes more than six times higher than black-headed households.
What those on Twitter had to say:
@dorothyblack: Is this a joke? #redoctober #embarrassing
@BongaDlulane: This #RedOctober thing confirmed for me that racism didn’t die along with the decimation of apartheid.
@khayadlanga: White oppression is so bad in South Africa that white per capita income in 2008 was R75 297 and R9 790 for blacks.
@osamazwai: I had no idea that 90% control of the economy constituted as oppression! #RedOctober
@muss_snr: Nyanga is a murder capital of South Africa, how many white people have died there? #RedOctober
@SinomthaM: Only good thing about #RedOctober is that it highlights everyone’s right to peacefully assemble, demonstrate, to picket and petition.
@JackParow: I am a child of SA, not race or language. Ignore steve. He is not afrikaans. He is an imbarresment & I officialy demote him from my language.
@ChrisForrestSA: Dear SA white folk, statistically we’re the richest, most employed & least murdered race in SA... How exactly are we oppressed?
@no_idea_Nic: I in no way condone the way white farmers or people are being treated, but lets not get racist about it.
@pedro_scp: White people are only letting out balloons because they can’t sing and dance.
@TerraThoughtz: I’m sure there are white folk looking at these #RedOctober ppl and feeling truly embarrassed that they’re implicated in such idiocracy.
@Trevornoah: And so it ends. #RedOctober march is abandoned after mother nature turns skies of Joburg black.