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Controversial ‘arrest Putin’ billboard taken down from Pretoria street



Arrest Putin billboard

The controversial Arrest Putin billboard has been taken down. The giant signboard between Midrand and Pretoria called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to execute the International Criminal Court warrant of arrest for Putin, citing allegations of war crimes in Ukraine. The signboards, part of a 14-month-long campaign to see Putin arrested, were placed along the N1 and R21 highways connecting Johannesburg and Pretoria. However, the EFF in Tshwane threatened to remove the giant signage, claiming it violated the municipality’s by-law on outdoor advertising.

Last week, the Tshwane EFF demanded the removal of the signboard within 24 hours, stating that while freedom of expression is valued, the billboard crossed the line. Following this demand, the signboard was successfully removed earlier this week. Avaaz, the US-based nonprofit organisation behind the campaign, confirmed that they erected the billboards on May 31 and taken down after a successful campaign.

The EFF Tshwane chairperson, Obakeng Ramabodu, expressed delight over removing the billboards, describing them as illegal and disgraceful. Ramabodu alleged that the municipality did not approve the billboards or represent most of Pretoria’s residents’ sentiments towards Putin. He emphasised the historical support provided by Russia to South Africans during the apartheid era. He suggested that the billboards failed to acknowledge this.

Also read: Tshwane EFF demands removal of controversial billboard

Tshwane Mayor Cilliers Brink denied claims that the metro used ratepayers’ money to erect the billboards, stating that private companies and organisations typically fund outside advertising. Brink dismissed the notion that erecting billboards calling for Putin’s arrest was a priority for the municipality, emphasising that Tshwane faced more pressing challenges.


Meanwhile, an Avaaz petition has gained over 500,000 signatures, urging South African authorities not to host Putin. The petition asserts that hosting Putin would roll out the red carpet for a wanted war criminal and calls South Africa to stand against impunity. Ruth Delbaere, Senior legal officer at Avaaz, emphasised the significance of South Africa’s moral stance in this situation, stating that if Putin’s visit proceeds and he departs without consequences, it would be a victory for impunity globally.

The digital billboards, strategically placed along commuter routes frequently used by cabinet members, aimed to raise awareness among a large audience about the campaign against hosting Putin and the call for accountability regarding the allegations of war crimes in Ukraine.

Source: Controversial ‘Arrest Putin’ billboard removed from Pretoria street

Also read:

US group calls for punitive action against South Africa over Russia relationship – report reveals


Picture: Twitter / HabelKibandi

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