Police arrest 100 people in protest against xenophobia
On Wednesday, South African police arrested 100 people as part of an operation to disperse a group of refugees and asylum seekers who had staged an extended sit-in near the UN refugee agency in Cape Town.
The refugees and asylum seekers have camped for weeks outside the headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
They are asking to be relocated from South Africa, where after a wave of xenophobic violence they say they don’t feel safe.
Local media showed footage of police shooting water cannon into the crowd of protesters, some of whom were visibly distressed or had little kids strapped to their backs, and removing personal items like clothes, sleeping bags and cooking equipment from the street.
In a statement they moved in to evict about 300 people from the area in accordance with a court order, the South African Police Service said.
“About one hundred people have been arrested after they failed to heed the call to disperse,” the police stated.
The police included that the UNHCR had attempted to resolve the impasse without success.
The refugees want to be repatriated to their home countries or moved somewhere else after a spate of fatal mobs and assaults in September, which killed at least 10 people and left numerous foreigners hesitant to live in the country.
The brutality, which was focused at African immigrant populations, sparked retaliation assaults, overshadowed a pan-African economic conference in Cape Town and drove a wedge between South Africa and other nations on the continent, including its other significant economy, Nigeria.
Several individuals were arrested during the savagery, which has erupted periodically in South Africa.