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South African Police have surrounded the International Forum on Globalisation
Total onslaught as police fire teargas on Vandana Shiva and Naomi Klein
The IFG have just closed today's forum at Wits University with a rally in support of the freedom of expression, and against the brutal clampdown on dissent. The IFG delegates are joining the Anti Privatisation Forum in a march to Thabo Mbeki Square (formerly the famous John Vorster Square). Moments ago, the marchers were attempting to leave the university campus on route to the police station where over 250 members of the Soldiers Forum and Landless Peoples Movement (LPM) were until yesterday detained. The soldiers have still not been released and reports of their fingers being broken by police, teargassing in their cells and the coughing-up of blood have not relented the state's resolve.
Police had cordoned off the rally and are now trying to restrict it to the university campus. With such heavy security deployment and with the police seeing only red, the prospect of arrests is not unlikely. Vandana Shiva and Naomi Klein,
among the most prominent of the IFG speakers, are participating in the march and could well found themselves victims of the South African government's 'total onslaught'.
News just in is that the police have fired teargas on the marchers and have arrested a reknowned South African filmmaker, Rehad Desai. The marchers are refusing to leave the point of confrontation until Rehad is released.