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Tell Pres Zuma not to put a band aid on massacres

Tell Pres Zuma not to put a band aid on massacres

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Last night Mzansi held its breath, hoping the Marikana Report would deliver justice and stop future massacres. We couldn’t believe the recommendation to train police in first aid to treat bullet wounds. That’s not going to stop future massacres. But stopping police using R-5 assault rifles will.

The next 24 hours are critical to stop police using R-5 massacre rifles which give police a license to kill as their bullets disintegrate on impact, that’s why no police could be charged at Marikana. President Zuma and Police Minister Nhleko will be watching the public's reaction to the release of the Marikana Report carefully.

The Marikana Report says we need an expert panel to advise police on what’s best practice crowd control, but policing experts have already called the use of R-5 assault rifles by public order police “totally unacceptable” [1]. The Commission found that the recommendations for the demilitarisation and professionalising of the police, should be implemented as a matter of priority [2]. Ensuring that police are not armed with war rifles is the first step to doing that.

We know vested interests are pushing a propaganda campaign trying to paint protests and strikes as violent and that's why police are justified in shooting us. President Zuma has already threatened to bring back 'apartheid' era police oppression; “.... the culture of Apartheid that used violence to suppress people will have to be looked at again, and I don't want it. We don't want the police who must use violence because they are stopping violence,” [3] If we don't act now and turn the tide against police brutality, more lives could be lost and people power crushed.

Together with our friends at Gun Free South Africa, over 1000 members of the amandla .mobi community have already joined this campaign to stop R-5 massacre rifles. This is a deeply traumatic and painful moment for the widows of Marikana, that's why it's critical we stand in solidarity.

[1] Farlam: Police use of deadly R5 rifles 'unacceptable', The Mail & Guardian, 10 September 2014

[2] Marikana Report

[3] Marikana: The day President Zuma added insult to injury. Greg Nicolson for the Daily Maverick. 25 Jun 2015