SBD/Issue 189/Events & Attractions

Police Take Over Security At Two World Cup Sites After Protests

Police Called Into Stadiums In
Cape Town, Durban

FIFA said that police "took over security at World Cup stadiums in Cape Town and Durban on Monday after stewards for soccer games at the venues walked off the job over a pay dispute with their employer," according to Stewart & Futterman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The decision to bring in the police in the two cities "comes after riot police were called in late Sunday to disperse an angry crowd of workers at Durban's Moses Mabhida stadium hours after Germany's victory over Australia." FIFA's local organizing committee said that the police "were asked to take over the security in Durban and at Cape Town's Green Point stadium to cover for workers protesting against the Stallion Security Consortium." Security at the other eight stadiums in the country is "contracted to other private security firms." South Africa 2010 World Cup Organizing Committee Chief Communications Officer Rich Mkhondo said that the walkouts "won't affect the dozens of workers in charge of checking bags and running spectators through metal detectors." Mkhondo added that the change "wouldn't cost additional money." Meanwhile, bus drivers at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium yesterday "went on strike after a match between the Netherlands and Denmark, frustrating thousands of fans trying to get home" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/15). The AP's Bradley Klapper noted yesterday's Italy-Paraguay match at Green Point Stadium "kicked off on time," but police said that fans "were kept outside the stadium grounds for an extra hour until the area was deemed secure." Western Cape region police spokesperson Col. Billy Jones said that the "delays slowed fans as they entered the stadium, but that the gates were clear in time for everyone to be seated 15 minutes before kickoff." Officials in Rustenburg, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, which are hosting matches today, said that they "expected no security problems" (AP, 6/14).

SLOWLY BUT SURELY: In Toronto, Cathal Kelly reports Soccer City yesterday "finally had enough working metal detectors," as "all the bags were run through." But "no one was looking at the monitor," and people "were walking through the standing version, setting off the alarm, and then impatiently being waved on." Kelly: "It's all a bit loosey-goosey for the fans as well. Inside the stadium, stewards are relaxed to the point of somnambulance. Africans, it seems, are not big on confrontation. After Mexico scored the tying goal in the tournament opener, their well-refreshed fans began whipping plastic beer bottles into the stands below. The stewards stood by shaking their heads in disappointment. And that's all they did" (TORONTO STAR, 6/15).

FOR MORE FROM SOUTH AFRICA: For more World Cup coverage, please see other stories in today’s issue on Hyundai pulling an ad amid criticism from Catholic groups, Dutch female fans being ejected for an ambush marketing effort, South Africa team merchandise selling quickly, viewership being up through three days on ESPN and Univision, ESPN’s on-air talent garnering positive reviews, AT&T Park drawing more than 20,000 fans for a public viewing of Saturday’s game, FIFA citing tradition in not banning vuvuzelas and late-night talk show hosts discussing soccer.

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