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Abahlali baseMjondolo (2005) World Renown Legal Scholars Demand Inquiry into Sutcliffe's Illegal March Ban. Centre for Civil Society : -.

Petition to the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal from Delegates to the Comparative Constitutionalism and Rights: Global Perspectives Conference

While in Durban we have come to learn that on Wednesday 9 November 2005 the eThekwini Municipality sent a fax illegally banning a proposed march on the Mayor organised by the Foreman Road Development Committee, the elected representatives of one of the poorest shack settlements in Durban. Two reasons were given for banning the march. The first was that "Officials from the Mayor's Office have advised us that they have no feedback for your organisation". The second was that "The Mayor's Office labour is unable to assist you and there will be no representative there to meet you." The respected Freedom of Expression Institute issued a statement condemning the ban as "a flagrant violation of the Constitution and the Regulation of Gatherings Act". The statement went on to explain that the reasons given by the Municipality for banning the march were "absurd" and without any legal basis.

On the day of the scheduled march, three thousand people met in the Foreman Road settlement, and decided to stage an act of passive resistance against this attack on their basic democratic rights in the form of a peaceful demonstration. It has been widely reported that the police responded with extreme force and that at least two police officers fired live ammunition. A number of protestors sustained serious injuries. Journalists and academics have stated that police officers threatened them with violence if they reported what they had seen and that cameras were confiscated by the police. The Freedom of Expression Institute issued a statement declaring that the Institute "condemns the eThekwini Municipality's blatant disregard for the rights of marginalized communities to exercise their freedom of expression" The statement described the police action as illegal on two grounds. The first was that no warning was given to disperse before the police attacked and the second was that there was no justification for the degree of force used in the police attack. The Mercury newspaper lodged a formal complaint against the intimidation of one of it journalists by the police.

We, the undersigned, delegates to the Comparative Constitutionalism and Rights: Global Perspectives conference would like to register our deep concern at these reports of the eThekwini Municipality's violation of various laws governing the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the right to peaceful protest. We strongly recommend that your office urgently conduct an official enquiry into these alleged violations of basic democratic rights.

Name Institution Position Country

D. Greschner University of Laverne Professor USA
Sandra F. Joireman Wheaton College Associate Professor USA
Q. Mirza University of East London Senior Lecturer UK
Beth Goldblatt CALS, Wits Univsersity Senior Researcher South Africa
Leslye Obiora University of Arizona Professor of Law USA
Erika George University of Utah Professor of Law USA
Emma C. Jordan Georgetown Professor of Law USA
Jeanne Woods Loyola University Distinguished Professor of Law USA
Mark Keude Drake University Professor of Law USA
Nicola Franklin Sydney University of Law Senior Lecturer Australia
Diane Geraghty Loyola University Chicago Professor of Law USA
Peggy Marsel Florida International University Professor of Law USA
Susan Bazilli International Women's Rights Project Co-Director Canada/ South Africa
Brilliant Mhlanga Center for Communication & Media Studies Postgraduate Student Zimbabwe
Khauyisela Moyo University of Ulster PhD Research Fellow Northern Ireland
Munyonzwe Hamalengwa Lawyer Canada
Patrick Bond UKZN School of Development Studies Professor South Africa
Paul Brietzke Valparaiso University Law School Professor USA
Angela Harris University of California Professor USA
Paul Gangsei New York Bar Association Attorney USA
Daria Roithmayr University of Illinois Law Professor USA
Barbara Stark Hofstra University Law Professor USA
Karl Klare Northeastern University Law Professor USA
Bernadette Atuahene Chicago-Kent Law School Assistant Professor USA
Meetali Jain Constitutional Court Law Clerk South Africa
Michael Osbore Cape Town Bar Advocate/ Barrister South Africa
Rosemary Lyster University of Sydney Associate Professor Australia
Chris Gale University of Bradford Professor, Director of Legal Studies UK
Carlton Waterhouse Florida International University Assistant Professor USA
W. Pettifer College of Law, London Solicitor, Practice Teacher UK
Jon Stubbs University of Richmond Professor USA
M. Lynch QUB Northern Ireland
S. Sibanda Wits University Lecturer South Africa
I. Nader Oxford University Student UK
A. Contsoudis Oxford University Student UK
M. Wesson University of Leeds Lecturer UK
A. Stewart UKZN/ Bar Advocate South Africa
K. Hofmeyr Oxford University Student UK
Jana McLean Lawyer Canada
Taunya Banks University of Maryland Law School Professor USA
Seth Racusen Anna Maria College Assistant Professor USA
Marilou McPhedran University of Victoria Co-Director, Women's Rights Canada
David Hulme UKZN Senior Lecturer South Africa
George Devenish UKZN Hon R Assoc South Africa
Michael Plaxton University of Aberdeen Lecturer UK
Dwight Newman University of Saskatchewan Assistant Professor of Law Canada
Bevekel Selassi UNC- Chapel Hill Professor USA
Trevor Ngwane Centre for Civil Society, UKZN Student South Africa
Raj Patel Centre for Civil Society, UKZN Post-Doctoral Fellow South Africa

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