JOHANNESBURG — South African police clad in riot gear on Wednesday forcibly broke up a gaggle of refugees who had occupied a sq. in central Cape City for 3 weeks, pleading for assist in leaving a rustic affected by anti-immigrant violence.

Photographs and movies of the raid confirmed cops carrying away a number of the protesters, their legs and arms dragging on the street, earlier than the police shoved them into armored autos and vans. The police aimed water cannons at crowds, in response to some native information experiences, and a few protesters accused the officers of firing rubber bullets at them, exhibiting the welts on their our bodies to journalists.

The police mentioned about 100 folks have been arrested after they didn’t heed the decision to disperse from the world they’ve occupied since Oct. 8. Some 300 refugees have camped exterior the workplaces of the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Refugees on St. George’s Mall, a sq. recognized for inns and a {popular} vacationer market.

They’ve known as on the refugee company to both assist them return to their house international locations, or assist them journey to safer international locations following the {latest} outburst of violence in opposition to immigrants.

“We have been nonviolent,” mentioned one of many protesters, Papy Sukami, including that the police used pepper spray and tear gasoline. “They beat us and arrested us for nothing.”

Final month, 12 folks have been killed in xenophobic riots round nation, though many of the victims have been South Africans. Teams attacked foreign-owned outlets, blaming foreigners for taking jobs and stealing alternatives whereas locals face file unemployment. Their targets have been folks from different elements of Africa and from South Asia.

In Cape City, the police mentioned they have been performing on behalf of the sheriff of the courtroom, who was ordered by the town’s Justice of the Peace’s courtroom to take away the protesters. The owner of a close-by constructing, the Waldorf Arcade, had requested the courtroom order.

Native {officials} mentioned the protesters introduced a security hazard as a result of they’d made cooking fires on the sq. and had slept below makeshift tents, or within the open, uncovered to the town’s unpredictable climate.

The United Nations refugee company has workplaces in Waldorf Arcade, and the opposite tenants have been threatening to withhold their hire if the protesters weren’t eliminated, the constructing’s proprietor informed a neighborhood radio station. The refugee company didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The nationwide police drive, the South African Police Service, mentioned in a press release that the refugee company and others had taken half in earlier however failed {efforts} “to resolve the deadlock in an amicable method.”

Mr. Sukami, the protester, mentioned he was talking to a reporter from a crowded Cape City police station. He mentioned he had refused to surrender his cell phone, and believed he was being held unlawfully. Mr. Sukami mentioned he fled Kinshasa, within the Democratic Republic of Congo, 9 years in the past, after main a labor strike in opposition to a state-owned firm.

As concern of anti-immigrant violence grew in recent times, he and different members of the Congolese neighborhood in Cape City began a gaggle known as the Kongolese Freedom Fighters in 2018. That group has been on the forefront of the sit-in, which has additionally included refugees and migrants from Burundi, Somalia and Pakistan.

“They’re killing refugees on this nation,” Mr. Sukami mentioned.

The same protest is underway exterior the refugee company’s workplace in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital.

Final week, residents’ associations from the suburbs of Waterkloof and Brooklyn approached a courtroom to have that non permanent camp moved away from their properties and companies. Native information media reported that some sympathetic residents distributed blankets and meals to the protesting refugees.

“They’re nonetheless there, with no help, no water, no meals,” mentioned Gugu Mngadi, a spokeswoman for the African Diaspora Discussion board in Johannesburg.

Refugees from each camps say the September violence highlighted their vulnerability in a rustic that has seen sporadic anti-immigrant violence, disproportionately directed at African migrants. Additionally they accuse South Africa’s Division of House Affairs of flouting worldwide laws and dragging its toes in granting refugee permits, or issuing beginning certificates for the youngsters of immigrants born in South Africa.

Just some blocks away from the conflict in Cape City, lots of the South Africa’s lawmakers sat in Parliament the place Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered a vital medium-term funds speech.



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