16 Apr 2015

South Africa: police move to stop anti-migrant violence

Police in the South African capital fire rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters who had been staging an anti-immigrant demonstration and pelted vehicles and police with rocks.

South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday told parliament he condemned recent anti-immigrant attacks and urged for calm to be restored in areas impacted by violence.

At least four people have been killed in a wave of anti-immigrant violence that started two weeks ago in Durban, a key port on South Africa’s Indian Ocean coast.

South African police fired rubber bullets and tear gas in an eastern suburb of Johannesburg, the country’s biggest commercial city.

Around 200 protesters, shouting that they wanted immigrants to leave, had pelted passing vehicles and the police with rocks.

South Africa has erected safe camps in the coastal city of Durban for fleeing immigrants whose shops were looted and burnt.

South Africa, with a population of about 50 million, is home to an estimated 5 million immigrants, and its high jobless rate, widespread poverty and glaring income disparities make it a ripe candidate for outbreaks of anti-immigrant violence.

Read more: Burnt alive - violence against migrants in South Africa