DA Youth Wage Subsidy march turns violent

A DA supporter is carried away by paramedics on Bertha Street Photo: Jan Bornman

Photographs and story by: Jan Willem Bornman, Lisa Golden and Jay Caboz

Protesters and journalists were tear-gassed by police after Democratic Alliance (DA) and Cosatu supporters clashed in Braamfontein today over proposed youth wage subsidies.

The march turned violent after blue-shirted members of the DA and red-shirted Cosatu supporters met on Jorissen Street. The Johannesburg Metro Police made a human chain to keep the two groups separated as they shouted insults at each other. This did not stop supporters from both sides throwing rocks, bottles, bricks and placards at each other across the police chain.

DA leaders were seen at the front of the march Photo: Lisa Golden

Fighting also broke out on Stiemens Street after police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. A 30-minute stand-off ensued while the DA leadership urged their supporters to maintain a non-violent stance, shouting “we want peace”, amid renditions of the national anthem.

DA members chanted "We are peaceful" when confrontations began Photo: Lisa Golden

One of the first protesters hit by a rock Photo: Jan Bornman

Rocks and bricks were hurled from both sides injuring protestors and journalists alike, among them Nickolaus Bauer from the Mail and Guardian, who was photographed with a bloodied face. A number of injuries have been reported in the media.

Journalist Nickolaus Bauer was injured in the clash Photo: Jan Bornman

DA national leader Helen Zille, parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, youth leader Makashule Gana and national spokesperson Mmusi Maimane led the march which was in support of the implementation of youth wage subsidies; a proposal rejected by Cosatu.

Competing lines of Cosatu and DA members, in red and blue respectively, are surrounded by media and police Photo: Lisa Golden

Mazibuko and Zille addressed the crowds calling for Cosatu to “join the DA” and saying “that they were stealing jobs from the youth.”

The two groups clashed repeatedly on several Braamfontein streets with the police, who appeared largely disorganised, responding with tear gas and water cannons.

Police used water cannons to disperse the crowds Photo: Jay Caboz

 

Windows of a BMW in Braamfontein were broken by protesters Photo: Jan Bornman

 

DA and Cosatu members arguing Photo: Jay Caboz

The police struggled to contain the situation as tensions increased Photo: Jay Caboz

A tear gas cansiter lies on the ground close to Cosatu members Photo: Jay Caboz

For more photographs go to Jay’s blog, Lisa’s blog and Jan’s blog

 

Hands off our Constitution! says DASO

The latest poster in DA Youth's 'In our future' campaign unveiled, yesterday 26 March, at Constitution Hill.

The Wits DA Student Organisation (DASO) took part in the DA Youth sit-in at Constitution Hill yesterday to demonstrate their concern over what they saw as recent threats to the Constitution by the ANC.

They said recent comments by the ruling party implied there was a need to change the Constitution. At the sit-in, the DA Youth revealed the latest poster in their “In our future” campaign, which shows the Constitution going up in flames.

The caption on the poster reads, “In our future, the Constitution will reign supreme.”

Mohammed Sayanvala, leader of DASO Wits said in a statement “the protest was held to show our concern about the ANC’s recent comments implying a need to change the Constitution of South Africa”.

“As a student body we realise the importance of preserving our Constitution so that our hard-won democracy and freedoms may be preserved for the future generations of South Africa.”

DA Youth leader Makashule Gana said in a statement: “The separation of powers is central to the preservation of democracy in South Africa. The judiciary must ensure that executive decisions comply with the Constitution, which no entity, not even the ANC, the President or Parliament, is above.”

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu has responded to the campaign by saying the ruling party does respect the Constitution.

“This is a Constitution that came with the ANC. We are not saying any willy-nilly person with a hangover can change it. All constitutions have amendments, and it all comes through a majority. Every time the ANC even mentions the Constitution it is a problem. It is not the DA Youth who brought this Constitution, they can go jump in the nearest lake.”

A previous DA Youth poster caused uproar on social networking sites in January. The poster showed a nude mixed race couple locked in an embrace. The caption read: “In our future you wouldn’t look twice.”

 

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