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Freedom of Expression Denied at Orlando Stadium


Issued: 30 September 2015

The Media Review Network (MRN) is perturbed by events that occurred at the Orlando Pirates/ Al Ahly soccer match that took place on Saturday, 26 September 2015, at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

During the first half of the match Egyptian soccer fans showed the Rabaa sign, a hand with four fingers raised into the air. Rabaa is a gesture of solidarity with those who were massacred by the Egyptian regime at Rabaa al – Adawiya Square in Cairo on 14 August 2013.  It is also a display of opposition to Egypt’s illegal military coup regime headed by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and an indication of support for former democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi.

The stadium security together with the South African Police Services (SAPS) threatened fans with removal from the stadium if they did not take off their paraphernalia with the Rabaa sign on them. Subsequently, SAPS and the stadium security forcibly removed the t-shirts and banners off the fans.

South Africa enshrines the principles of freedom of expression and freedom of association within its democracy yet on this day it was completely ignored and violated.

The MRN finds it absurd that the South African Government and the African Union (AU) initially opposed the military coup in Cairo. This position was reversed and the illegitimate Al Sisi regime has now been accepted into the family of African nations.

The MRN has lodged its concerns with various government departments including the Ministry of Safety, Security and Police.

The MRN insists that the Ministries concerned intervene in this matter by determining the reasons for such harsh police action against peaceful supporters, also the reasons for violating the Bill of Rights. We anticipate an urgent and quick response to the issues raised.


Issued by:

Iqbal Jassat

Executive, Media Review Network

Cell: 083 594 3749


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Iqbal Jassat