South African white farm­ers protest vi­o­lence

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREW MELDRUM

JO­HAN­NES­BURG - Thou­sands of white farm­ers have snarled traf­fic on some ma­jor roads in South Africa in what they call the Black Mon­day protest against the high rate of mur­ders of farm­ers.

Con­voys of hun­dreds of slow mov­ing trucks and cars brought traf­fic to a crawl on high­ways lead­ing from farm­ing ar­eas to Cape Town, Pre­to­ria and Jo­han­nes­burg and white farm­ers and their sup­port­ers wore black in mem­ory of farm­ers killed. The protests have been peace­ful and the South African po­lice have ac­com­pa­nied the demon­stra­tors.

The protests are backed by AfriFo­rum, a lobby group which pro­motes the rights of South Africa's white mi­nor­ity, espe­cially the Afrikaner pop­u­la­tion de­scended from Dutch set­tlers. AfriFo­rum claims that 70 white farm­ers have been mur­dered in 341 at­tacks on farms so far this year.

The rate of mur­ders of white farm­ers is much higher than South Africa's gen­eral mur­der rate, said Ian Cameron, AfriFo­rum's head of com­mu­nity safety, speak­ing at the Afrikan­ers' Voortrekker Mon­u­ment in Pre­to­ria where hun­dreds of pro­test­ers gath­ered.

“A farmer has 4.5 times more chance of be­ing mur­dered in South Africa, than an av­er­age South African,” said Cameron, ac­cord­ing to the African News Agency. “That means a farmer is three times more likely to be mur­dered in South Africa than a po­lice of­fi­cer in this coun­try. So farm­ers have by far the most dan­ger­ous job of all peo­ple in this coun­try, at the mo­ment. We can­not al­low this to con­tinue the way it is.”

The protest has been crit­i­cized by the Black First Land First group which claimed in a se­ries of tweets that white farm­ers are per­pe­trat­ing vi­o­lence against black peo­ple.

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