By Roxanne Joseph and Luca Kotton
Supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign protested outside the Johannesburg High Court today where a case about the removal of Palestine solidarity billboards was to be heard.
The BDS movement, who are suing Continental Outdoor Media for the removal of Palestine solidarity billboards in 2012, staged a protest outside the court despite a postponement of the matter to later in the week.
The organisation is represented by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and is arguing that the removal of the billboards goes against the principle of Freedom of Expression, according to BDS South Africa coordinator Muhammad Desai.
Desai says BDS are very confident they will win the case as this is a “contractual” and “constitutional” issue.
“The facts are very clear, in which Continental Media has succumb to the pressure. Unfortunately for Continental Media the Israeli lobby went very quickly to the media to take down the billboards. We don’t see any sign of the Israeli lobby now,” Desai said.
He added, “We are here to send a very clear message … playing around with freedom of speech and freedom of expression will not be taken lightly. We fought very hard for these freedoms.”
The billboards depicted the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land through a series of maps titled “Palestinian Loss of Land- 1946 to 2010.”
The matter was not heard in court today as the LRC believes the time allocated to the case is too little.
“We need more than four hours for the matter to be heard, it’s quite a complex matter. So we’re waiting for a time later in the week when more than four hours can be allocated for us,” according to Naseema Fakir, regional director of the LRC.