The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has urged South Africans to observe a “national day of action” on Monday, 8 June in solidarity with the United States (US) Black Lives Matter movement.
The US has seen more than a week of intense protests following the deaths of George Floyd and other African-American people at the hands of the police in recent weeks.
In a statement on Friday, the EFF said, “On Monday, 8 June, 2020, we call for peaceful demonstrations by all South Africans in demand from the USA for justice and structural change of their racist law enforcement agencies.”
The party also cited the deaths of Collins Khosa, allegedly at the hands of the SA National Defence Force, and mineworkers in Marikana in the North West at the hands of the police in 2012.
It said this was evidence of “a consistent anti-black attitude across the very fabric of law enforcement across the world.”
The EFF said the demonstrations must be held in a “safe and responsible manner,” adding, “Accordingly, the protests must be in accordance with level 3 regulations that allow jogging in a proper social distancing form.”
Besides the US, people in several countries in Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East have held demonstrations. In Africa, protests have been held outside US embassies in Kenya and Nigeria.
‘Kneel for 8 minutes and 46 seconds’
“Africa must take a stand and defend Africans in the diaspora who face violence that dates back to slavery when they were stolen from the continent and sold across the Atlantic,” the EFF said.
EFF leader Julius Malema will lead a demonstration outside the US embassy in Pretoria while Deputy President Floyd Shivambu will lead another one at the US consulate in Johannesburg. EFF National Chairperson Veronica Mente will also lead a protest at the consulate in Cape Town.
The EFF said, “Let us make our contribution in accordance with social distancing rules. South Africans must come out and take a knee wherever they are [at] 09h00 in the morning, 8 June, 2020 for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.” This is the period of time the police officer pressed his knee on Geoge Floyd’s neck.
EFF’s call follows an announcement by the African National Congress (ANC), Congress of SA Trade Unions (COSATU) and SA Communist Party (SACP) alliance on Thursday that it will launch an Anti-Racism Campaign on Friday.
In a statement, the alliance said, “The Alliance, starting tomorrow, 5 June, 2020 at 19h00 at an event to be addressed by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and other alliance leaders, will launch its campaign of solidarity with the peoples of the USA.
“It will be the start of our Black Fridays, where henceforth we all are called upon to wear black on this day of the week. The Alliance Anti-Racism Campaign will also highlight the racism in our own society and against police and security force brutality.”