Police and activists clashed in South Africa on Friday during a protest against a graduation party allegedly organized for “whites only.”
Nearly 2,000 members of the Economic Freedom Fighters, a radical left-wing political party, gathered around Brackenfell High School in Cape Town as police fired tear gas and water cannons at the crowd, Al Jazeera reported.
Police later told protest organizers that only 100 people were allowed to demonstrate, but the group accused police of being heavy-handed.
The confrontation stemmed from riots over a graduation party outside the venue hosted by parents. A flyer for bash was disseminated to a WhatsApp group that included several teachers but did not share with regular class groups, a student told local news site IOL, adding that it was clear black students were not invited.
“We have WhatsApp groups in class where information is usually shared, but that was not the case at the event, which clearly shows that we were meant to be excluded,”
The event, called the Masquerade Ball MX’20, was held at a winery in Stellenbosch on 17 October.
School officials said the party was a “private event” and not organized by the school.
EFF protesters and white parents fought over the party on November 9 with videos showing them hitting each other in the street, Al Jazeera said.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called for an investigation, calling the dispute “deeply regrettable” and saying it brings “hurtful memories of a past to which we should never seek to return.”
“The sight of parents and protesters coming to knock on the school gate is deeply unfortunate,” he said.
Apartheid in South Africa ended three decades ago, although the country is still divided by racism.