Security forces have clashed with protesters who are angry that Barack Obama is to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg.
Demonstrators – from the university, trade unions, communist party, and the groups ‘NoBama’, and ‘No You Can’t’ - cited Obama’s on-going support for Israeli attacks on Palestinians, drone attacks, and plans to exploit Africa’s resources - as the rationale for their protest.
A student spokesperson said that:
“I feel that my rights are being infringed. We cannot protest anymore, personally I feel like we are becoming an extension of the US. We should not be honouring this man who makes oppression possible (referring to Israel). Hands off our gold, oil, diamonds, and land”.
Heavily armed riot police fired rubber bullets, teargas, and stun grenades, into thousands of protesters, who fought running battles with police – in and around the Soweto campus.
Following the breaking up of the gathering, protesters marched to the US embassy and picketed the gates for several hours.