Panic on the streets of Cape Town

Dublin, Dundee, Humberside.

Not really, obviously. That’s just a borrowed line from a song by The Smiths. I actually have no idea over the prevailing mindset of the residents of those latter three areas. But I do know that there is some concern mounting over a possible protest march in the CBD this coming Friday.
The reasons for this concern are twofold:

Firstly, the alleged protest is allegedly organised by the same guys that allegedly organised the last protest march in the CBD, at the end of October. That allegedly resulted in widespread criminal damage and looting of shops and informal traders in the centre of town and was only dispersed by the onset of a sudden rain shower, which apparently made the protesters realise that their grievances weren’t actually that grievous at all and they’d all rather head off to somewhere drier.

Secondly, the idea that the alleged march could turn nasty has been seized upon by doom-merchants and fearmongers in an effort to merch doom and monger fear. A digital pamphlet is being passed around on Facebook and by email, warning of “major traffic chaos” and “possible associated protests on the N2”, in much the same way as urban myths are shared by the same means. This plays right into the protesters’ hands, given that their only real objective is to disrupt normal life and get some publicity.

After the October 30th march, infamous alleged poo-flinger Andile Lili warned that there would be 250,000 at their next effort. Given that there were between 3,500 and 6,000 protesters on October 30th, this is either extremely optimistic on his part, or frankly rather worrying. Actually, perhaps it’s both.
Then add to that the fact that the alleged march has not been given permission to take place, given the problems of the previous one, and you have an interesting situation with Lili et al talking it up and the City not even acknowledging that anything might happen. At least, not publicly.

So who knows? To continue the tenuous musical links at the beginning of this post, it could be Del Amitri’s Nothing Ever Happens or it might all go a bit Kaizer Chiefs’ I Predict A Riot

You might argue that the protesters have already won, given the amount of concern and the number of changed plans that their alleged action has generated. But given the amount of damage that was caused last time out and the likely increase in numbers this time around, maybe they have their sights set on something a bit more spectacular than just making Cape Town’s Friday a bit difficult.

I’ll be watching from a distance. But will you be avoiding the CBD on Friday or will you run down, to the safety of the town?

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