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Police deny BCL mine employees peaceful demonstrations

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They wanted to petition OP on safety issues and other conditions of service

KAGO KOMANE

Botswana Mining Workers’ Union (BMWU) members will not be allowed to march to the Office of the President (OP) and hold peaceful demonstrations to hand over their petition at OP today (Tuesday) as initially planned, but will instead be confined to Notwane grounds.
This is after Judge Walia dismissed their urgent application on Monday evening where they sought the court to intervene and order the 2nd respondent; the Commissioner of Police to amend the permit granted to the applicant; BMWU and include the route initially indicated by the applicant.
The permit granted by the police stated that the demonstrations will start at Notwane grounds and end at the same place where the petitions will be delivered to the Vice President. This means the BCL mine workers would be confined to one place and not march to the Office of the President.
BMWU argued that being denied to engage in a peaceful procession is a breach of their fundamental rights; the right to associate, freedom of speech and assembly. They said the matter is urgent by reason that they had already secured an appointment with the Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi today (Tuesday) at his office.
According to BMWU, they initially  petitioned  the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources  Kitso Mokaila in April, with issues such as, decline of production under the current management, safety standards at the mine and low wages which have never been revived amongst others.
It was later after they did not get a response for two months that they approached the office of the president and it was agreed that Masisi would see and receive their petition at the open space adjacent to the office of the President and that he shall be available for this event on the 5th of July 2016 at 1215hrs.
However, following confirmation by Office of the President a request for permission to have peaceful demonstration was denied in Gaborone, the police cited that the applicant should apply for permission at No 10 district which controls the areas of Selibe Phikwe. This, BMWU argued, would defy logic to apply to Selibe Phikwe as they already secured an appointment with Masisi.

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