More security protests in South Africa
Labour disputes spread to half World Cup stadiums
Several hundred World Cup security workers and supporters protested in Durban on Wednesday in a labor dispute that has spread to half the tournament's stadiums.
The security stewards, who say they have been banned from working, sang and chanted slogans ahead of a march to city hall. Police kept watch but did not intervene.
Late Sunday, police used force to break up a demonstration by stewards outside Durban's World Cup stadium, firing rubber bullets, tear gas and flash grenades at protesting workers.
Police have since taken over security at five of the World Cup's 10 stadiums.
"Our protest is not aimed at disrupting the World Cup. It's just to remind the government they must get their priorities right," said protest organizer Trevor Ngwane.
"When we ask for jobs, better education and houses, they tell us there is no money. But suddenly there are billion rand [available] to build stadiums."
Stewards at Durban's stadium say they were turned away from the venue after they complained about being underpaid by a private contractor.
Police have taken over security at that site as well as other venues using the same company, Stallion Security Consortium, in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg. No wage problems have surfaced among stewards hired for the other five stadiums by South Africa's largest security company, Fidelity.
Wednesday's protest in Durban was joined by local fishermen and other workers who say their daily lives have been disrupted by the World Cup.
The rally was peaceful with organizers even urging protesters not to blow on their vuvuzelas — the ubiquitous plastic horn seen at this World Cup.
Fisherman Rajen Inderjeeth said he had been stopped from fishing in a part of the city's seafront where luxury hotels look onto the sea and a fanzone.
"When we go they chase us away. They are taking away our livelihoods," said Inderjeeth, who held up a handwritten sign that read "We will fish against your rules."
Community worker Pravin Nansook said most Durban residents had been excluded from the World Cup festivities.
"They paint a beautiful picture in the center of town for the tourists. But the tourists should see what the rest of [Durban] is like and the problems that are there," Nansook said.
"People can't afford to go to the stadiums. ... The World Cup is just for the elite."