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Issue #1600      July 3, 2013

Protesters tell Obama: You’re not welcome

Hundreds of people marched to the US embassy in South Africa last week protesting against President Barack Obama’s visit to the country. The nearly 1,000 communists, trade unionists and students had a litany of complaints, from US policy on Cuba and Palestine to Mr Obama’s continued support for imperialist wars and failure to improve the lot of black people in the US.

“I celebrated with my friends and comrades when Obama won the elections in 2008,” Young Communist League national secretary Buti Manamela told the rally. “We were all happy and merry. We thought that US global domination and military might have reached its end.

“But no. We had yet again a president who was more loyal to those who put the Benjamins (dollars) in his election funds than those who put the ballot in his name.”

Protesters carried signs reading: “No, You Can’t Obama” a reference to the misleading “Yes We Can” campaign of his first election. Mr Obama got a jot of good news as a court ruled that he wouldn’t be arrested for war crimes.

The North Gautend High Court decided that the Muslim Lawyers Association request to have him arrested wasn’t urgent, so it will be heard in an ordinary court in a few months’ time.

The association pointed out that the allegations of war crimes relating to the US drone program and Guantanamo Bay prison camp remain untested.

Mr Obama said in Senegal that ailing anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was a “personal hero” whose “legacy will linger through the ages.” But protesters were shocked at the president’s arrogance.

“Mandela valued human life. Mandela would condemn drone attacks and civilian deaths, Mandela cannot be his hero, he cannot be on that list,” protester Yousha Tayob told Reuters.

Mr Obama’s African trip, intended to shore up US interests in a region increasingly turning to China, was overshadowed by the ill health of the former president affectionately known as Madiba.

His ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said the national hero had made “a great improvement” in recent days. But she said he was “clinically” still unwell.

Morning Star  

Next article – Biggest protest in Egypt’s history

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