SOUTH AFRICA –
ABOUT ten thousand people Thursday marched in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban against xenophobia following attacks on foreign nationals in the country.
The protesters, including religious and political leaders sang solidarity songs, as they expressed their displeasure over the attacks against foreigners, which has claimed the lives of at least five immigrants.
But elsewhere in the city, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at dozens of protesters who were calling for foreigners with other African origins to leave.
Some South Africans accuse foreigners of taking jobs as the unemployment rate continues to rise.
Speaking in parliament on Thursday President Jacob Zuma descibed described the attack as ‘’unacceptable.
President Zuma said: “No amount of frustration or anger can ever justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops. We condemn the violence in the strongest possible terms.’’
Many of those affected by xenophobic sentiments in the country are citizens of Nigeria, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.
More than 2,000 foreigners have already sought shelter in refugee camps in Durban.
In Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial capital, tension is also running high with stores closed in some neighbourhoods.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse a crowd of about 200 protesters who were pelting vehicles with stones calling for immigrants to leave on Thursday.