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Hundreds protest Obama’s visit to South Africa

JOHANNESBURG — Hundreds of protesters marched to the U.S. embassy in South
Africa on Friday in a peaceful protest against the impending visit by President
Barack Obama.

The demonstrators opposed U.S. policy on Cuba, the war in Afghanistan, global
warming and other issues. The rally in Pretoria was organized by trade unionists
and members of the South African Communist Party.

The protesters want to raise public awareness and warn U.S. citizens about
human rights violations committed by the Obama administration, which includes
the non-closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison holding terrorism suspects, said
campaign coordinator Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

“Their administration’s government is not welcome, and is being received with
antagonism,” Ndlozi said. “Therefore they’ll have to rethink the standards by
which they hold their government.”

Protesters carried signs that read: “No, You Can’t Obama,” a message inspired
by the “Yes We Can” campaign slogan adopted by the president during his first
run for election.

Obama and his family were expected to arrive in South Africa later Friday as
part of a tour of three African countries. Their three-day trip includes a visit
to Cape Town’s Robben Island, where former President Nelson Mandela spent 18 of
his 27 years imprisoned by the previous South African administration.

Demonstrators staged a similar protest outside the Parliament building in Cape
Town where Obama’s record on human rights and trade relations in Africa were

“He’s coming here to plunder Africa and South Africa,” protester Abdurahman
Khan said. “He’s coming for the wealth and resources, for the gold and the
diamond mines, while the majority of Africans and South Africans are

Protesters also plan to rally Saturday at the University of Johannesburg’s
Soweto campus, where Obama will address students and receive an honorary law
degree, and on Sunday at the University of Cape Town.


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