Peace march against xenophobia turns ugly in Durban CBD
A large group, wielding sticks and pangas, tried to disrupt the gathering at the City Hall.
Around 7,000 people in Durban’s streets joined the peace march saying No to Xenophobia on 16 April 2015. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN
JOHANNESBURG (EWN) – As the president, Members of Parliament, leaders and ordinary South Africans call for an end to xenophobia, fresh violence has once again broken out in the Durban CBD.
A march by an estimated 10 000 people against xenophobia has been met with clashes between locals and the police after they tried to march on a gathering attended by ministers and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu.
A large group, wielding sticks and pangas, tried to disrupt the gathering at the City Hall where thousands of people denounced xenophobia and pledged to resolve their differences without violence.
Police fired rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas into the angry crowd.
There is a massive people police contingent, but the CBD remains volatile.
The march was called by Mchunu in the wake of the killing of five people in Durban’s townships during the xenophobic flare up.
Durban Mayor James Nxumalo said, “Looking at the turnout I think we are sending a very clear message. It is also a very clear and positive statement where people are united and saying no to xenophobia. We are hoping that after today’s march the situation will go back to normal.”
MPs across the political spectrum have condemned the recent wave of xenophobic violence gripping parts of the country, after President Jacob Zuma used his appearance in the National Assembly to call for calm and an end to the unrest.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s foreign minister says xenophobic violence in South Africa has displaced around 800 Zimbabweans and killed at least one.
The country is setting up a team to help those who want to return home.
Foreign Minister SimbarasheMumbengegwi says a number of Zimbabweans have told embassy officials in Durban that they want to go home.
The minister says government officials are working with the Zimbabwe embassy officials in South Africa to put the logistics in place for this to happen.
The official Herald newspaper say the embassy is investigating reports that two Zimbabweans may have been killed in the violence, including a toddler.