WATCH: #SA4Rohingya protest in Pretoria turns into chaos

Published Sep 15, 2017


Pretoria - Chaos erupted at the Burmese Embassy in Pretoria on Friday, after a crowd of protesters affiliated to the #SA4Rohingya campaign gathered to picket against the plight of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar.

As different speeches were given, outside the embassy, some people within the protesters started shaking the perimeter fence and throwing stones and garbage into the diplomatic mission's premises.

Members of the South African Police Service, with the Tshwane Metro Police, fired stun grenades as they forced the multitude of protesters to disperse from the embassy.

Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee condemned the behaviour of the unruly protesters and said the chaos started when the objects were hurled into the embassy. 

"A section of the crowd started hurling objects at the embassy, injuring two people. Police also used teargas. Some protesters were out of line and their behaviour is unacceptable," said Abramjee.

"I joined the march to show solidarity and to say no to genocide. Innocent men, women and children are being slaughtered."

Former international relations deputy minister Ebrahim Ebrahim addressing the crowd after some protesters were injured as police fired stun grenades to disperse protesters at the Burmese Embassy. VIDEO: ANA Reporter

Abramjee said it was encouraging to notice that prominent South Africans including Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi and former deputy minister of international relations Ebrahim Ebrahim had also joined the protest.

"It's a pity a few rowdy protesters spoiled what ought to be a peaceful protest. It was heartening to see Christians and Hindus as well as a Buddhist leaders attending and supporting the plight of the Rohingya people. The world must stand up and take a stand against the slaughter," said Abramjee.

Some of the protesters were holding placards written "Say no to killings in Burma", "Stop genocide in Burma", and "South Africans say hands off Rohingya".

Some at the protest were denouncing Myanmar's civilian leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, accusing her of failing to stand up against the armed forces perpetrating atrocities against the Rohingya people.

Observed by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted minorities, thousands of Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladesh flee their countries every year in a desperate attempt to reach mainly Muslim-majority countries, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The protest in Pretoria on Friday was meant to call on Myanmar authorities to live up to their human rights obligations, and for the South African government to increase pressure on the Myanmar government.

African News Agency

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