Foreign-owned businesses in Johannesburg were looted, in the latest in a series of anti-foreigner violence in South Africa. Police said they arrested 22 people in connection with the attacks.
Residents of one hostel set up burning barricades, while foreign workers nearby began clearing up after a local car garage was firebombed.
A police officer protects the property of foreign nationals in the Jeppestown area of Johannesburg Mujahid Safodien/AFP A man carries a club and a Zulu shield outside a hostel in Johannesburg Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters Locals run after trying to rob a foreign motorist in Johannesburg Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters Locals gesture outside a hostel during anti-immigrant related violence in Johannesburg Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters A man holds a brick near the hostels in the Jeppestown area of Johannesburg where clashes broke out Mujahid Safodien/AFP A man carrying an axe chats to a woman outside a hostel in Jeppestown, Johannesburg Mujahid Safodien/AFP
South African police fired rubber bullets and a stun grenade on Friday, 17 April, to disperse African immigrants who had armed themselves with machetes in
an area east of Johannesburg. An African immigrant holds a machete in a run-down district of east Johannesburg Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters Police officers fire rubber bullets as they disperse African immigrants carrying machetes Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters An African immigrant runs as an armed police officer disperses machete-wielding immigrants in Johannesburg Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters Police officers walk past a car that was burnt overnight in Johannesburg Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters People look at a burnt-out car after foreign nationals reportedly torched it in the early hours outside a hostel in the Jeppestown area, east of Johannesburg Mujahid Safodien/AFP A child picks up casings from the rubber bullets fired by police in Jeppestown, Johannesburg Mujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa has been hit by
a wave of violence against African and other immigrants in the last two weeks. The foreigners have complained about a lack of protection and some have started to arm themselves.
Police raided a hostel east of Johannesburg on 16 April after reports that residents were behind a wave of attacks on foreign-owned shops.
South African police raid a hostel in Benoni, outside Johannesburg, where residents have been protesting against the presence of foreign-owned shops, forcing them to shut down Marco Longari/AFP A police officer takes aim as they search a hostel east of Johannesburg Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters A South African anti-riot police officer raids the kitchen area of a hostel in Benoni, east of Johannesburg Marco Longari/AFP A South African anti-riot police officer frisks a man during a raid on a hostel in Benoni whose residents are suspected of having protested against foreign-owned shops in the area Marco Longari/AFP A South African riot policeman lines up residents while raiding a hostel in Benoni Marco Longari/AFP
South Africans took to the streets of Durban on 16 April to march against xenophobia. The march was organised after xenophobic attacks erupted in the Durban area and then spread to other parts of the country, culminating in violence that reportedly killed six people.
They marched peacefully to the City Hall. But then an anti-immigrant group attempted to disrupt the march and was met with police resistance.
People participate in a peace march after anti-immigrant violence flared in Durban Rogan Ward/Reuters Hundreds of people participate in a peace march in Durban Rogan Ward/Reuters Foreign nationals threaten to defend themselves as police get between them and South Africans after a peace march in Durban Rogan Ward/Reuters Police encourage a group of foreign nationals to return to their homes after a peace march in Durban Rogan Ward/Reuters People take cover from a stun grenade and tear gas after clashes between locals and foreign nationals in Durban AFP People run for cover from a stun grenade and tear gas in Durban AFP
In the days before the peace march in Durban, more than 2,000 foreigners fled to camps erected on sports fields around the city, afraid to return home.
President Jacob Zuma urged South Africans to stop attacking immigrants, calling the attacks "shocking and unacceptable," adding that "no amount of frustration and anger can ever justify the attacks on foreign nationals".
South Africa is a major destination for asylum seekers and refugees, and the country currently houses more than 300,000 asylum seekers, according to projections by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said UNHCR spokeswoman Tina Ghelli.
The second spate of attacks this year in South Africa began after the
Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini, said that immigrants should "take their bags and go." Zulus comprise one of South Africa's largest ethnic groups. "We must deal with our own lice," he said, also complaining about foreign-owned shops. However, Zwelithini claims that his comments were distorted by the media. A foreign national, wearing a "South Africa" jacket, clears items from his shop for fear of attacks in Primrose, outside Johannesburg Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters Men carry a refrigerator as foreign nationals pack up their shops in Primrose, about 15km east of Johannesburg Mujahid Safodien/AFP A man loads goods onto a truck as foreign nationals pack up their shops Mujahid Safodien/AFP East African men watch their goods being transported as foreign nationals pack up their shops Mujahid Safodien/AFP
"Xenophobia today can easily mutate into genocide tomorrow. Stop it," tweeted Zimbabwe Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, adding that the Zulu king should "extinguish what he ignited".