South African Aids activists sang and danced through the streets
of Cape Town on Thursday as part of a worldwide campaign to get
the US government to reduce military spending.
Some 500 marchers made their way to the US consulate in central
Cape Town to deliver a letter addressed to President George Bush
calling for less spending on the military and more on fighting
diseases such as HIV/Aids.
"Hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent on the military
instead of investing resources in the biggest threat to human
security today -- HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, malaria, malnutrition
and poverty," said the letter, which was delivered by Aids
groups, including the influential lobby group Threatment Action
South Africa has more people living with HIV and Aids than any
other country in the world: 5,3-million, or one in nine.
The pandemic is expected to affect one in four South Africans by
2010, the year South Africa hosts the World Cup, an event billed
as an opportunity to showcase achievements.
"He [Bush] acknowledges the threat of terrorism, however the most
important and widespread threats to global security are the ones
exacerbated by poverty and lack of development," it said.
Police threw a ring of steel around the US consulate, including a
barbed-wire fence, while a spokesperson accepted the letter.
"We may have disagreements about tactics but we have the same
goals in mind," Louis Mazel told marchers on behalf of the US
He said the US government funded a number of Aids projects around
Other marches also took place in Johannesburg, Durban and East