Farm­ers, con­cerned cit­i­zens unite to protest farm mur­ders

Port Al­fred com­mu­nity joins in #Black Mon­day

Talk of the Town - - News - ROB KNOWLES

IT WAS a beau­ti­ful warm spring day on Mon­day morn­ing when lo­cal res­i­dents joined cit­i­zens across the coun­try to gather in peace­ful protest over farm mur­ders.

They also de­manded more help from law en­force­ment to com­bat the scourge that has dec­i­mated fam­i­lies and placed the coun­try’s food se­cu­rity in jeop­ardy.

The protest, known as #Black Mon­day, saw res­i­dents from in and around Port Al­fred gather peace­fully at the li­brary lawns to show sol­i­dar­ity for the farm­ers and farm work­ers and pray for peace in the coun­try.

Many wore black as was en­cour­aged on so­cial me­dia to show sol­i­dar­ity with farm­ers and re­mem­ber those who have been mur­dered in farm at­tacks.

“When you have a plate of food in front of you, you must thanks farm­ers. No farm­ers, no food, no fu­ture,” Bathurst Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Danny Wepener said. “The fact is that farm­ers, black and white, are be­ing at­tacked and killed. It has noth­ing to do with race.”

Those gath­ered at the li­brary lawns to­talled over 100, and the protest was led by for­mer farmer and leader in the Chris­tian Men’s As­so­ci­a­tion, Leon Coet­zee, who said that the Bi­ble, the Word of God, was the fi­nal ar­biter and that God’s law must be fol­lowed if the coun­try is to heal.

“We have man’s laws which we must obey. But when they are in con­flict with God’s Laws, the Bi­ble must take prece­dence,” said Coet­zee, who was as­sisted by pas­tors Eldin Ru­dolph and Josh de Witt, who also of­fered up prayers for farm­ers and farm work­ers.

#Black Mon­day also drew a lot of com­ment on Face­book, with read­ers shar­ing pho­to­graphs and videos of protests around the coun­try, in­clud­ing block­ades on the N1 and N3 and gath­er­ings in other towns and cities. The cause was sup­ported by ex-pats liv­ing in Dubai and the US, who also shared pho­tos of their #Black Mon­day gath­er­ings.

Oth­ers who were not able to at­tend the Port Al­fred protest also ex­pressed their sup­port on Face­book, while some said they wished it had been pro­moted bet­ter as they did not know about it.

Pic­tures: ROB KNOWLES

PRAY­ING FOR PEACE: More than 100 res­i­dents of Port Al­fred at­tended the peace­ful protest and prayer at the li­brary lawns on Mon­day to raise con­cerns for the num­ber of farm mur­ders in the coun­try. Among the many farm­ers present, there were also mem­bers of the gen­eral pub­lic who ex­pressed their dis­may and alarm at the num­ber of farm mur­ders that have oc­curred over the past years

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