Peace Protests against Xenophobia in South Africa

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Source: AtlantaBlackStar.com and Cnn.com

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In response to the resent spite of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, thousands of people have stood up against the cruelty and multiple human rights violations against so called “Foreign Nationals”. Various marches have taken place in Durban, Johannesburg and other parts of the country:

Durban Kwa-Zulu Natal: Thousands of people attended a march in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban in solidarity with the country’s foreign nationals.

The march on Thursday, which included religious leaders and concerned citizens, comes after weeks of attacks against foreign nationals in which at least five people have been killed and 74 people arrested since the end of March, according to Colonel Jay Naicker, the police spokesperson.

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Al Jazeera’s Mukelwa Hlatshwayo, reporting from the march in the coastal city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, said that as many as 5,000 people had joined the procession and that the atmosphere was calm with people ulilating and singing songs of solidarity

Reuters news agency reported that bullets had been shot into the crowd but our reporter said she had only witnessed a few people shouting into the crowd on the sidelines of the procession that “foreigners must go home.”

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Many shops remained closed in the business capital of the country, Johannesburg in the Gauteng province fearing attacks as well.

Groups of people were said to have travelled to Durban from other provinces to join in the show of solidarity with the foreign nationals.

Similar attacks occurred in 2008, leaving at least 60 people dead.

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Messages circulating on social media warned people in Gauteng province and KwaZulu-Natal to be on high alert for possible attacks and to also remain indoors.

In Malawi, officials have set up transit camps expected to house Malawians returning to the country, Kondwani Nankhumwa, the country’s information minister, said.

More than 2,000 foreigners have already sought shelter in refugee camps in Durban, a South African aid group said on Wednesday.

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JOHANNESBURG – Members of the ANC held a march against xenophobia along Hendrik Potgieter Road in Ruimsig on Johannesburg’s West Rand on Saturday morning.

A source that works at Clearwater Mall, which is situated along Hendrik Potgieter Road, described it as a “peaceful march against xenophobia”.

On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma urged South Africans to protect refugees and asylum seekers.

The ANC has also been very vocal against xenophobia on its official website.

In a statement on the website, ANC Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte described xenophobia and racism as “irrational attitudes stemming from a conception of creating a difference between us and the other”.

“In their approach, they rely on a worldview informed by stereotypes.”

She said South Africa must condemn the notion that a refugee can be exploited for cheap labour.

She said, “The reality is that many employers deliberately do not employ South Africans because they disrespect our labour laws.”

Duarte condemned such non-compliance with the law.

She urged police to protect every human life and to act against illegal activity of every kind.

Duarte concluded by saying, “The demon of … xenophobia must be obliterated from our collective progressive consciousness.”

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South Africans protest xenophobia, violence on social media:

During the protest march Thursday, Twitter followers voiced their support through hashtag campaigns.#PeaceMarch and #SayNoToXenophobia were some of the most popular.

South African Police Services said more than 10,000 people attended the march, including civil rights groups and nongovernmental organizations.

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Karabo Mkhabela

Founding member and website administrator of www.consciousness.co.za Magazine. I want to touch as many lives as possible and help make The World a better place - starting at home in Africa.

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