Fresh anti-foreigner violence in S. Africa

Looters making off with goods from a store as a riot police officer approached in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday. Hundreds marched through the streets on Monday in an unusually large display of anti-foreigner sentiment. More
Looters making off with goods from a store as a riot police officer approached in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday. Hundreds marched through the streets on Monday in an unusually large display of anti-foreigner sentiment. More than 90 people were arrested "after looting shops and damaging property".PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

JOHANNESBURG • South African police patrolled central Johannesburg yesterday after the the country's financial capital was hit by a new wave of anti-foreigner violence.

Rocks, bricks and rubber bullets strewed the empty streets of Alexandra after mobs plundered the township overnight, burning and looting the shops.

AFP photographers in Alexandra said police presence remained heavy and that rubber bullets were still being fired to disperse the crowds. The police were scheduled to meet community leaders yesterday.

The township was the scene of a second night of urban rioting in Johannesburg, where hundreds of people marched through the streets on Monday in an unusually large display of anti-foreigner sentiment.

More than 90 people were arrested "after looting shops and damaging property in Johannesburg and surrounding areas", said a government statement released late on Monday.

Such violence breaks out sporadically in South Africa where many nationals blame immigrants for high unemployment, particularly in manual labour.

On Sunday, South African truckers started a nation-wide strike to protest against the employment of foreign drivers. They staged road blockades and torched foreign-driven vehicles in various parts of the country on Monday.

At least 20 more people were arrested in connection with the truck attacks near the coastal city of Durban and in the south-eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, the government statement said, bringing the total number up to more than 110.

South Africa is a major destination for economic migrants from the southern Africa region, with many moving from neighbouring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in search of work.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2019, with the headline 'Fresh anti-foreigner violence in S. Africa'. Print Edition | Subscribe