Thursday April 16, 2015 at Sun International’s GrandWest Casino, went slightly different than planned. The evening was set for fans to come see the South Africa and Israel hockey match. However, a 45 minute delay occurred when security removed Braam Hanekom and other pro-Palestinian protestors from the ice rink, which is located on the casino premises. Management cited endangering players as the reason for the eviction of the protestors.
GrandWest Management made allegations that the protestors threw marbles onto the ice endangering players. Over the weekend the problem has heated up with both sides stating their case. Sun International representative Michael Farr states there is video footage showing Hanekom tossing marbles onto the ice during a break in the game.
Hanekom claims he was assaulted by management and he did not throw marbles. He also states some of his protestors were racially profiled at the entrance despite having purchased tickets.
Farr’s response was, “GrandWest has surveillance and security cameras. Visuals from inside the Ice Station as well as outside the Ice Station have been reviewed. No attack took place.”
A letter from a spectator at the match supports the casino team’s claim that Hanekom threw marbles onto the ice.
Farr also states that all ticket holders had to pass through security and were subject to a search for the safety of all attending. Farr and Sun International have no intention of blocking activists from their rights; however, their casino is private property and they have a responsibility for all visitors’ safety including the hockey teams. Farr’s statement finished by stating that they will not allow protests on their property as is their right.
He is not stopping Hanekom and other activists from exerting their right to protest as long as they do so off the private property of GrandWest.