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SA police arrest 1,500 in church

31 January 2008
The South African Police now seem to be playing a game of “blame the victim” was we are seeing scenes that we have not seen since apartheid ended in 1994.The government has watched as Zimbabwe turns into a fascist dictatorship and hundreds of thousands of refugees have poured into South Africa. The SA government has said very little to the government that has driven them out, but instead treats the refugees almost as badly as they are treated at home.During the South African liberation struggle South African exiles found homes in neighbouring countries, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mocambique, as well as places further away such as Britain, Sweden and other European countries. Yet now when we have our freedom and others flee to us for asylum, we persecute them,
clipped from
South African police have raided Johannesburg’s Central Methodist Church, arresting around 1,500 homeless people and Zimbabweans.
The police said they were looking for drugs, guns and illegal immigrants.

But Paul Verryn, the church’s bishop, described the raid as a violation of the sanctity of the church. “I think it is despicable,” he told the BBC.
Bishop Verryn said he would have gladly co-operated with the police if they had asked for his help to search the building and check the papers of those inside.

He said the way the police handled those they arrested during the raid was a clear violation of their rights.

Police officers carry a man as they conduct a raid on the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, 31 January 2008

It was, he added, an attack on the very institution of the Church.

Wednesday night’s raid is the first time the police have targeted the Central Methodist Church, which is widely respected as a shelter for some of the city’s most desperate people.

An estimated three million Zimbabweans are believed to be living in South Africa.
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There is also more direct reporting of this on the blog of Dion Forster, a Methodist minister, who is in touch with what is happening. Go to Muti and vote for his article so it gets more exposure!

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