When anger boils over…..
For more than two weeks, xenophobic riots have plagued the South African port city of Durban, with South African nationals lashing out at immigrants from southeastern countries like the Malawi and Mozambique, as well as other nations on the continent. On Thursday night and into Friday morning, the violence spread to downtown Johannesburg as rioters looted foreign-owned stores.
As anti-immigrant attackers continued to target these shops in South Africa’s largest city today, police forces got involved, firing rubber bullets and arresting at least six people in the Johannesburg neighborhood of Jeppestown. The rioters, some carrying axes and hammers, also set cars on fire in the early hours of Friday.
Reports also emerged Friday of attacks simultaneously occurring in other parts of the country like in the de facto capital of Pretoria and the town of Cala in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.
The riots in Durban, which have claimed at least five lives since they began in early April, have now assuaged after a 5,000-strong crowd took to the streets Thursday in a show of unity against the anti-immigrant attacks. Despite reports of relative calm in the port city Friday, a Congolese immigrant living in Durban said he and his family remained barricaded in their home out of fear that violence would reignite.
The riots stemmed from simmering unhappiness amongst South Africans towards the immigrants whom they accused of stealing their jobs.