News24 | UPDATE | 4 arrested after Cape Town pro-Israel prayer meeting cancelled ‘due to safety concerns’

  • A pro-Israel prayer meeting in Cape Town was cancelled due to safety concerns on Sunday.
  • This was after Palestine supporters gathered in the same spot ahead of the prayer meeting. 
  • Police said four were arrested, while videos from the scene showed a water cannon dispersing those with Palestinian flags.

Four people have been arrested on charges of public violence after a pro-Israel prayer meeting that was planned in Sea Point, Cape Town, on Sunday afternoon, had to be cancelled.

About 1 000 Palestine supporters descended on the promenade just after 11:00, apparently disrupting the proceedings that were due to start at 14:30.

Western Cape police spokesperson, Captain FC Van Wyk, said officers had to resort to the use of stun grenades and a water cannon when some individuals disobeyed instructions to disperse.

“We can confirm that SAPS members are still static on the scene fulfilling their mandate,” Van Wyk said around 16:30.

According to shocked event organiser, Vivienne Myburgh, there were only about 10 people at the gathering when the Palestine supporters showed up.

She said they expected more than 2 500 people, but buses carrying Israel supporters were turned away by the police and the event was cancelled before it could start.

Fatima Pretorius, who spoke to News24 at the scene, said she was tired of all the killings and that is why she was supporting Palestine.

“Enough is enough. How many people must die before they are going to stop? Our people are angry,” she said.

Myburgh emphasised that it was supposed to be a peaceful Christian event where they would hold hands and pray but that those who pitched up took over the whole event and they were threatened.

According to Myburgh, an Israel supporter’s finger was broken after someone apparently grabbed a flag from his hand.

Videos going viral on social media showed police nyalas and officers in rows trying to maintain order, while a water cannon was seen spraying crowds holding Palestinian flags.

The four men who are in custody will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court as soon as they have been charged.

By late Sunday afternoon, a crowd started marching to the Sea Point police station where the four were apparently being held.

READ | Tens of thousands march through Cape Town in solidarity with Palestinians

This comes a day after thousands of people marched through central Cape Town in support of Palestine, many calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Israel tightened its siege of Hamas-ruled Gaza following the October 7 cross-border assault by the group that Israel says killed around 1 200 people, with about 240 abducted as hostages back to the Palestinian enclave.

Gaza health authorities say more than 11 000 people – many of them women and children – have been killed since Israel started its blitz on the small coastal strip of 2.3 million people.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

News24 South Africa