‘Human rights, not Muslim issue’

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IT’S A HUMAN rights issue, not a Muslim issue.

This was the point the protesters gathered around Alice Lane in Sandton yesterday wanted to bring across.

The peaceful protest was organised by Muslim organisation Al Jama-ah and supported by labour federation Cosatu, its affiliate Samwu and the Young Communist League (YCL).

“As Muslims, we stand against social injustice, and the fact that there was a small turn-out is very tragic,” said a demonstrator, who did not want to be named.

About 60 protesters were blocked off from the Sandton Convention Centre, where the leadership summit was taking place.

YCL national secretary Buti Manamela said he supported the demonstration.

“We are here to support the fact that many have opened a case of murder against [former UK prime minister] Tony Blair,” he said.

Manamela said Blair and [former US president] George Bush had blood on their hands from the many war crimes they had committed.

He said part of Discovery’s agenda was to continue with the “genocide” medical aids were causing.

“Arrest Tony Blair now. Why must he receive VIP treatment when the Iraqi have not received [any]?” asked Manamela.

Stephen Faulkner of the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) said he could not understand why Blair was paid such an enormous amount of money for a leadership summit when he had failed as a leader.

“He is profiting from his so-called public service.The struggle against the Blairs of this world does not end here.”

Faulkner said anyone who had a Discovery product should consider discontinuing its use.

He said the money Discovery was making from South Africans was used to fund people like Blair.

Faulkner claimed Blair earned between R100 000 and R350 000 per minute for speaking at the summit.

Protester Inayet Wadee said they planned to hand over a memorandum to Discovery CEO Adrian Gore.

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