Set to the tune of popular local artist Euphonic’s ‘Seng Khatele’, groups of pro-Palestinian activists reportedly shut down two separate Johannesburg Woolworths stores during flash mobs Saturday.
Volunteers supportive of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement of South Africa staged the flash mobs as part of the National Day of Action against the retailer. The Woolworths stores at Soweto’s Maponya Mall and a branch at Rosebank Mall were reportedly brough to a stand-still and were forced to temporarily shut down due to the amount of attention the flash mob attracted.
BDS SA spokesperson Mohammed Desai says the flash mob was a success because it received the attention of onlookers, drawing their attention to the ongoing Woolworths boycott.
“BDS South Africa, the National Coalition 4 Palestine, COSATU, ANC Youth League and various other organisations have called for a boycott of Woolworths until it ends its 12 million rand trade relations with Apartheid Israel. The termination of relations with Israel is called for as part of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign which seeks to isolate Israel until Israel respects international law and Palestinian human rights,” Desai said in a statement.
But the BDS reports that Woolworths, being aware of the planned day of action, hired private bouncers to counter protest action at their stores.
“The violent response by Woolworths and its hired bouncers, instead of quietening the peaceful protestors and non-violent protest actions, had the opposite impact of causing massive disturbances at malls and shopping centres. For example, at Rosebank Mall the Woolworths store was shut down and several neighboring stores were affected due to the commotion caused by the violent reaction of the Woolworths bouncers to the peaceful flashmob and protest,” he said.
BDS SA said if Woolworths continues to ignore the calls by many members of the public for them to cut ties with Israel, the movement will only call for an intensification of the boycott. VOC