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Police arrest man outside president’s office for growing marijuana in South Africa

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According to AFP, South African police uprooted cannabis plants grown by indigenous activists who have been camped outside President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office for more than three years on Wednesday.

Their leader, wearing a traditional loincloth, clung to a shoulder-height plant as police dragged it across the presidential lawn in Pretoria before arresting him.

Police arrest man outside president's office for growing marijuana in South Africa

Police arrest man outside president’s office for growing in South Africa

“Police… you have declared war,” he shouted. “We have been here peacefully. We are coming for you,” warned the man, who calls himself King Khoisan South Africa.

The Khoisan were formerly known as Bushmen or Hottentots — a name coined by Dutch settlers in the 17h century, reflecting the clicks characteristic of their languages.

During the raid, another activist yelled in Afrikaans at the police, asking them: “For plants? For plants? You are rubbish people in uniforms.”

The group’s tarpaulin tents have been a fixture on the emerald lawns of the South African president’s office since 2018 when they began a campaign for official recognition of their languages.



South African Police Services (SAPS) members confiscate plants during a raid at the camp of King Khoisan South Africa (not pictured) at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on January 12, 2022. Phill Magakoe / AFP

One of the tents is just meters (yards) away from a giant bronze of Nelson Mandela, the country’s first black president.

Around two dozen police, some in riot gear, others mounted on horseback, and some with sniffer dogs raided the small group.

Police arrest man outside president's office for growing marijuana in South Africa

Police arrest man outside president’s office for growing marijuana in South Africa

Police did not respond to AFP’s request for comment, but journalists heard officers on the scene saying the raid was over the cannabis planted some six months ago in the activists’ vegetable garden.

In 2018, South Africa’s top court decriminalized the private and personal use of cannabis in a landmark case that pitted law enforcement agencies against advocates of the plant, known locally as dagga.

South Africa’s Khoisan community is thought to number in the hundreds of thousands.

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