A group of more than 5,000 bikers rode to the Union Buildings in South Africa’s Pretoria — where the offices of the President and cabinet ministers are located — to protest against a recent upsurge in farm attacks in the country.
The bikers were seen wearing jackets and face masks, with placards affixed to the back of their vehicles. “If there is no justice for farmers there will be no peace for the government,” one such placard read.
In a series of letters addressed to the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, the bikers urged him to put an end to the violence, AFP reported. The letters were attached to large white and black crosses, which were laid against the fences in front of the Union Buildings’ lawns.
The demonstrators demanded heightened police security for the country’s farmers, who were increasingly becoming the victims of robberies and violent attacks. In the last 12 months, up until April, at least 49 farmers have been murdered in South Africa, as per police records.
According to AfriForum, an NGO that represents the country’s white minority, at least 216 farm attacks have been recorded so far this year. However, the group maintains that the attacks are not racially motivated. Black and Indian farmers often fall prey to the assailants too, the organisation said.
Similar protests were seen across the country — where convoys of farmers sitting astride motorbikes, driving tractors, and even riding horses made their way down the streets. Some crossed their arms in an ‘X’, which has become the symbol of resistance for the ongoing farmers movement.
While the rate of violence dropped in the initial months of a nationwide lockdown, imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, the number of attacks rose once again in June, several farmers told AFP.
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