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Harrowing photos from a protest in Hout Bay is making South Africans rethink why people actually protest

Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1

A gathering of disgruntled residents turned violent when police opened fire with rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

 

The protests apparently began with unhappiness over fishing allocations but residents said there were numerous issues in the area. Some were unhappy about the closure of factories‚ leading to unemployment‚ while others said they were unhappy about service delivery.

“The underlying message from protesters is that the poorest of South Africans feel they are not being heard or helped.”

Police in Riot gear were forced to move in when benches from a neighboring restaurant were added to the fire in the road. Protesters pushed back into the harbor where they began stoning shops, vehicles and looting docked boats.

Photographer Justin Sullivan captured the pictures while posing the question.

“Residents have been fed up with service delivery, unemployment and access to land, conveying their anger through protest. Have we been listening enough? Have we done enough to aid those without a voice?”

“Although this protest may acquire negative commentary towards the residents of Hangberg in mainstream media, the people would not be in the streets burning tires and pleading for a better future if they were happy.”

“Violence is not the answer… Violence is not the answer”

Meanwhile the photos have stirred up a very important online conversation.

Walter Pike said: “Violence happens when people feel disempowered, when nobody listens to talking.”

Keith Tania Robbertze stated: “These photos speak of despair. Hopelessness and being gatvol.”

Ebrahim Ismail posted: “My only comment on the situation is that we should refrain from judging these protesters as we can’t even begin to understand their plight.”

Brent Lindeque: “I am South African and I don’t have one single reason to protest. I have a job, I have a home, I am happy & I don’t need the government to help me at all. I think thats the biggest problem. We all forget that there are many people in South Africa who fight just to survive on a daily basis. Unemployment is almost at 30% of our population while over 4,5 million kids go to bed hungry every day. These pictures have really made me think: how far would I need to be pushed to stand in the face of rubber bullets just so someone would actually listen?”

Check out all the photos below:

Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1

Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1 Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1 Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1 Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1 Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1 Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1 Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1 Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1 Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1 Hout Bay Protests Justin Sullivan 1


Sources: Justin Sullivan Photography
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