Johannesburg People’s Pride backs student protests

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The 2014 People’s Pride march through Hillbrow

The Johannesburg People’s Pride Movement has expressed its support for South African students around the country who have been protesting against a planned increase in tuition fees.

The #FeesMustFall student campaign is the most significant student uprising in the country since the end of apartheid and has seen thousands protesting at universities, at the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg and outside Parliament.

Many students are also demanding that tertiary education be offered for free as previously promised by the ANC.

In a statement on its blog, the organising committee of People’s Pride said: “Thousands of young people across all of South Africa are being denied the right and opportunity to education in order to be able to have full citizenship in the global knowledge society.

“In the same ways that queer people are deliberately pushed to and kept in the margins, poor people (who are overwhelmingly mostly black as a direct result of our colonial-apartheid past and present) are also being kept in the margins to maintain the pervasive structural and material inequalities that characterise our society today.”

The group condemned the use of force by police and the authorities in response to the protests and urged the LGBTIQA community to show their support for the students.

“Queer people cannot be free unless higher education is free for all who want it. None of us can be free, unless all of us are free,” said People’s Pride.

Johannesburg People’s Pride was launched in 2013 as an alternative to Johannesburg Pride. It takes a more political, anti-capitalist stance and links LGBTIQA equality to all other struggles for equal rights.

The group has organised two successful Pride marches in 2013 and 2014. A date for this year’s event has not yet been announced.

 

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