South African Police Fire Rubber Bullets and Stun Grenades at Anti-Obama Protesters

imageAnti-Obama protesters waiting on the arrival of President Obama at the University of Johannesburg were fired upon with rubber bullets and stun grenades on Saturday. After the crowd scattered, police began patrolling the streets with shotguns.

The protesters are upset over President Obama receiving an honorary degree at the university.

“They don’t believe Obama deserves that award. The U.S. position and its relationship with Israel has created a problem,” said president of the Student Representative Council, Levy Masete . “The students say, ‘Stop the oppression in Palestine,’ and you want to honor this man who is making this oppression possible.”

“He’s here for our African resources,” said student Nomagugu Hloma, who said the university sold out by inviting Obama and giving him an honorary degree. “Hands off our gold, oil, diamonds and land,” she said.

In addition to the student protests, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) will also be protesting President Obama’s visit.

“I’m disappointed with President Obama,” said COSATU chairman of Gauteng province in Johannesburg, Putase Tseki . “He promised he would (change) his foreign policy, he was going to resolve Palestine and close Guantanamo. I would say I was positive four years ago, but now I don’t know.”

Anti-Obama rallies were also set up in other areas to protest President Obama’s drone and Middle East policies. The anti-Obama protests in South Africa are far different from the hero’s welcome Obama received in Senegal.

President Obama met with South African President Jacob Zuma earlier today.