JOHANNESBURG: Pro-Hamas/Palestinian activists have been banned from protesting in Woolworths stores, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled on Tuesday. High-end supermarket retailer Woolworths secures court order against BDS protesters who stormed into its stores, dumping a pig’s head in kosher section of Cape Ton branch.
YNET News On November 14, Woolworths applied for a court interdict to prevent activists from protesting inside its stores.
Woolworths welcomed the ruling. “Woolworths welcomes the court decision to protect our customers and employees from unlawful BDS in-store protests,” group director of retail operations Paula Disberry said in a statement.
The order prevents members of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions SA (BDS SA) from organizing, co-ordinating or encouraging any form of protest action in the stores.
The high-end supermarket took the case to a court after a series of protests by activists from Boycott, Divestment and Sanction against Israel who stormed into stores, brandishing placards and chanting slogans. Woolworths said the ruling offered “relief” and enforced its rights to “trade free of threats and intimidation”.
“Woolworths respects the constitutional rights of protesters to express their views lawfully without infringing the right of others. We trust that BDS will respect the decision of the court,” she said.
Last month, a pig’s head was dumped in a kosher section of a Woolworths store in Cape Town.
Criticism of Israel is not new in South Africa, and the Jewish state has previously expressed its outrage at comparisons of its policies towards Palestinians with the racist apartheid system.
But Israel’s 50-day offensive in Gaza this summer had sparked large rallies in Africa’s second biggest economy, with tens of thousands of people joining marches in major cities.
Woolworths says it currently imports figs, pomegranates and pretzels from Israel, calling the campaign against Israeli goods misdirected.
The protest group said in a statement it would “tone down its in-store protest actions” but vowed to intensify its #BoycottWoolworths campaign in social media. The activist group is also lobbying the government to stop trade with Israel, citing atrocities against Palestine.