#TshwaneUnrest: Pretoria marred by violence after anti-foreigner protest

union buildings pretoria tshwane protests joonasi flickr

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.

The resultant chaos unfolded on social media, with a slew of users taking up the hashtags #TshwaneUnrest, #ForeignerMarch and #Xenophobia, among others.

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.

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.

Some foreigners have upheld this comment, at least according to the South African who was reportedly chased and attacked by foreigners.

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.

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.

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.

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.

According to incoming reports, protests in various areas of the city remain active

Have a look at the rolling Twitter feed below:

Feature image: Joonasi via Flickr (CC 2.0, resized)

Andy Walker, former editor


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