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Violence against foreign nationals, which began earlier this week, has today escalated in Tshwane. This after an anti-illegal immigrant march organised by Pretoria locals turned ugly.
According to reports, some locals blame rising incidents of crime, prevalence of drugs and prostitution on foreign nationals living within the metropole. The demonstrators were to march to Pretoria’s CBD to hand over a memorandum to the Department of Home Affairs.
But that’s not exactly what happened.
The march quickly turned violent, with both locals and foreigners wielding makeshift weapons.
The police was also called in, armed with rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades. Incidents have been reported in Mamelodi, Atteridgeville, Sunnyside and other areas around the Pretoria CBD.
— Abigail Javier (@AbigailJavier_) February 24, 2017
— Kalden O Lachungpa (@KaldenOngmu) February 24, 2017
— Mpho Raborife (@MsRaborife) February 24, 2017
— Tshepiso Moche (@tshepimoche) February 24, 2017
Acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane announced that more than 130 people have been arrested. SAPS members have also attempted to stop the marchers from reaching Pretoria’s CBD. Shops owned by foreign nationals were also looted this morning.
— Maryke Vermaak (@MarykeVermaak) February 24, 2017
But while the march did effectively take place, foreigners explained that they won’t back down. “We’ll fight back big time,” one foreigner explains.
— Vauldi Carelse (@vauldicarelse) February 24, 2017
Some foreigners have upheld this comment, at least according to the South African who was reportedly chased and attacked by foreigners.
— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) February 24, 2017
— Lindokuhle Xulu (@LindokuhlXulu1) February 24, 2017
A number of political figures and official city accounts have expressed disdain at the violence. President Jacob Zuma in a press conference explained that South Africa is not a xenophobic country.
— Nickolaus Bauer (@NickolausBauer) February 24, 2017
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has also announced that the City is working to “prevent violent outbreaks” in the country’s economic hub. The DA also “condemned” the violence in a separate statement.
— City of Joburg (@CityofJoburgZA) February 24, 2017
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) February 24, 2017
The EFF in its own statement “vehemently condemns” the violence.
“The current debacle pertaining to unemployment and inequality is wrongfully placed and blamed on African brothers and sisters, and black people from the developing world,” the party writes.
EFF Statement on Erupting Xenophobic Attacks #XenophobicAttacks
Full Statement: https://t.co/llA9oNSSXh
— EFF Official Account (@EFFSouthAfrica) February 24, 2017
As a response to the violence in Pretoria, some African citizens in their respective countries are also protesting. In Abuja, Nigeria, the MTN office was reportedly targeted by protesters earlier this morning.
#ForeignerMarch also begun trending nationally on Twitter in Nigeria around 3pm SAST.
— The SAAAAUCE … (@MTVNewsish) February 24, 2017
According to incoming reports, protests in various areas of the city remain active
Have a look at the rolling Twitter feed below: