About 500 people gathered at the Sea Point Pavilion on Saturday to protest against compulsory vaccinations as part of the Worldwide Rallyfor Freedom where similar protests took place in different locations around the world.
About 500 people gathered at the Sea Point Pavilion on Saturday to protest against compulsory vaccinations as part of the Worldwide Rallyfor Freedom where similar protests took place in different locations around the world.

Anti-vax protesters accuse police of intimidation

By Siphokazi Vuso Time of article published Oct 4, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - A group of protesters who gathered on Sea Point Promenade on Saturday to denounce mandatory vaccines and lockdown regulations have accused the police of “aggression and intimidation”.

The maskless protesters marched with placards calling on people to say no to mandatory vaccines and vaccine passports.

Police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said a case docket in terms of the Disaster Management Act (DMA) regulations has been opened and the matter is now under investigation.

“Our members were deployed in Sea Point to police a gathering of approximately 250 people who protested against the Covid-19 vaccine. Appropriate action was taken by our operational forces and the event was concluded at 1.30pm without any violence,” he said.

Traut added that if anyone felt they were harshly handled by the police during the protest, they were welcome to lodge a complaint through police management.

Activist Yaseen Johnson accused the police of being aggressive towards peaceful citizens, who, he said, were “expressing their birthright as free humans”.

“These rights are enshrined in the Constitution and should be protected by all means. Our forefathers fought hard for this, and many died so that we all can enjoy equality and freedom,” Johnson said.

Comedian Joe Emilio, who was among the protesters, said the demonstration was “peaceful”.

“Police came and they quickly wanted to intimidate protesters, even though they were marching peacefully. There was no rioting or looting or anything like that; people were literally just walking down the Sea Point Promenade peacefully,” he said.

“The police then attempted to stop the march, while people were marching, with a water cannon. They said people should disperse because they are not abiding by lockdown regulations, which is ironic because this is exactly what the people are protesting. Eventually, people stood their ground and told the cops to leave,” Emilio said.

Senior lecturer from the Department of Global Health at Stellenbosch University, Dr Jo Barnes, said conspiracy theories, unscientific interpretations and some people’s opinions on the pandemic and vaccinations had caused a lot of damage across the world.

“It is a really difficult problem to handle as it is abundantly clear that one cannot argue with anti-vaxxers about facts or clinical truths. The very nature of their opinions and their defence mechanisms have already discounted any ‘facts’ that are presented to them. In fact, arguments with such believers simply strengthens their resolve.

“The worrisome effect of this is a slow rollout of vaccinations and a consequent wave upon wave of infections, costing many lives, making countless people ill and increasing the numbers of people suffering lingering and debilitating symptoms long after they are supposed to be recovered,” she said.

This is as the Western Cape government and City launched a vaccination drive over the weekend aimed at ensuring a safe summer season.

The Vooma Vaccination Weekend Campaign saw leaders across the country being called on to intensify their support for the Covid-19 vaccine and to encourage uptake.

“We aim to fully vaccinate 70% of those over 50 years old by December, and 70% of the eligible population with at least one dose. We set December as our target because we want to ensure that we all have a summer that we can look forward to,” said Premier Alan Winde.

Cape Times

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