Thursday, 24 September 2015

Pharrell Williams faces BDS protests from thousands of demonstrators in South Africa


R&B superstar Pharrell Williams could face thousands of pro-Palestine protesters at a concert in Cape Town tonight (21 September). Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa – which campaigns against Israel's presence in Palestine – was given the go-ahead by Western Cape High Court for supporters to demonstrate against the singer's partnership with South African retailer Woolworths (no relation to the former British store of the same name), which it accuses of stocking agricultural produce from the disputed territories.

The court decision, which was handed down on 18 September, paves the way for 16,000 Palestine supporters to protest until 4pm local time outside the Grand West Casino. The ruling reversed efforts deemed as unconstitutional by Cape Town authorities to limit the number of demonstrators to just 150.

Earlier this year, the Happy singer was appointed style director for the retailer, who says that less than 0.1% of its food products are sourced from Israel. BDS South Africa is expecting the gathering to be "the biggest protest against an international artist in the country since apartheid".

A statement released by BDS South Africa read: "Pharrell Williams has been targeted because of his deliberate and informed decision to collaborate with Woolworths.

"Woolworths is a company that maintains unjustifiable trade relations with Apartheid Israel and is the current target of the biggest consumer boycott campaign seen in South Africa since democracy. more

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