Durban peace march ends in mayhem - As it happened

2015-04-16 16:45

Thousands of people have taken part in a peace march through the streets of Durban following xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal. Get all the details here.


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Last Updated at 05:45
16 Apr 16:49

The Durban CBD was a chaotic scene of stun grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas, and walls of police on Thursday afternoon, even though a peace march had just been held to end xenophobic attacks.

People sneezed and their eyes burned as police formed human chains in the streets with their commander shouting ''hold the line, hold the line'' as they cleared about 500 agitated people from the immediate area.

While the peace march wound down at the city hall, pockets of protesters grew in the city's Dr Pixley KaSeme, Anton Lembede,  Joseph Mduli and Monty Naicker streets, with police trying to break them up with tear gas, a human chain and a water cannon.

They ignored boos from the crowd and at one point, helped a lone motorist get away from the fray. A woman wailed as water cannon on a large police truck pushed people away from shops in the CBD, most of which were closed.

Famous retail brands formed the background to police chasing a group through a taxi rank in Anton Lembede Street, and a Burundian national, Moses Sefumama, had to be rescued from a crowd by metro police. People outside Shoprite sneezed as the wind blew the tear gas down Dr Pixley KaSeme street.

In places mounted metro police towered over people, forcing them to move.

In contrast, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu said outside the city hall at the peace march, "Today is a very important day, not only in KwaZulu-Natal, but in South Africa. Today we made our stand known throughout the continent and the world." -  Giordano Stolley, Jeff Wicks, Amanda Khoza and Jenni Evans, News24

16 Apr 16:33

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16 Apr 16:26

As xenophobic violence flares up in Johannesburg, Somalia and Malawi are alleged to be making plans to pull their citizens out of South Africa.

Violent attacks started a few weeks ago in KwaZulu-Natal, apparently after a speech made by King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Shops owned by foreigners were looted and immigrants moved to refugee camps to escape the attacks.

On Wednesday foreign nationals in Johannesburg said that they had received messages telling them to close their shops because a mob was on its way to kill them. – City Press

16 Apr 16:08

16 Apr 16:04
Riot police have done as much as they can. Traffic restored and they will patrol the hot spots - Jeff Wicks, News24

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In Parliament: EFF leader and MP Julius Malema says the state is responsible for violence meted out to foreigners.

"The state, being the elder for the whole of society, becomes responsible for all the violence meted against our foreign nationals," he said in Parliament on Thursday after being given the podium for a few minutes.

"It was through the State that our people were told that resolution to differences should be through violence. It was under your leadership that when you disagreed with people at Marikana, you killed them because you never believed in peaceful resolution of differences."

He said that when the EFF had disagreed with the ruling party in Parliament last year, it had also applied violence. He took President Jacob Zuma's son Edward to task for his recent comments about foreigners.

"Your own son continues to say these people must be killed. You stand up here and say nothing," Malema said.

"Your son is such a typical example of a family member you cannot whip into line." – Jenna Etheridge, News24

16 Apr 15:51

16 Apr 15:50
Cops are chasing a group of people up through the taxi rank in Pine Street - Stolley

16 Apr 15:50

DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane on Thursday condemned xenophobic attacks in Durban and other parts of the country.

Speaking in Parliament during a special question session, he said violence could never be tolerated.

"Our humanity is slipping away from us and we cannot allow this," he said.He understood the frustration of young people who did not have jobs, especially since the unemployment rate stood at 36.1 percent.

"[But] we cannot allow people to brutalise others. Foreign business owners are not the enemy," he said.

The real enemy was corruption and a culture where dialogue was the last resort, not the first."We must not turn xenophobia into political football". – Jenna Etheridge, News24

16 Apr 15:48

16 Apr 15:47

Statement from Business Leadership South Africa: BLSA is concerned about the increasing sense of intolerance, violence and lawlessness in South Africa.

The most recent and most disturbing manifestation of this is the shocking violence against immigrants in Durban. 

Beyond the horror that threatens to cast a permanent stain on the conscience of our country, is the disturbing sense of institutional and leadership failure, which ultimately will put further strain on the country’s development goals.

The wanton violence, xenophobic killings, and disregard for the aspirations of fellow Africans is not in line with the country’s Constitution and it is important that the country and the world knows that this will not be tolerated by the state and by fellow South Africans.

This is a national emergency; we must demonstrate that the South Africa defined by good governance, inclusion and socio-economic justice, is not in free fall. 

The state must show that it has the will and fortitude to ensure law and order and to defend the Constitutionals values the President of the Republic is entrusted and obligated with.

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16 Apr 15:43
Capitec has closed their doors. Some staff members are trying to see what is happening - Stolley

16 Apr 15:41
He says: People outside Shoprite are sneezing as the wind blows the gas down the road.

16 Apr 15:40
My eyes are watering even though I am quite far away - Joe Stolley

16 Apr 15:39
Tear gas used at the end of West Street. - Joe Stolley

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Water cannon is seen racing down Smith Street towards Russell Street.

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In Parliament: President Jacob Zuma has condemned a spate of attacks on foreigners, calling it "shocking and unacceptable".

Addressing the nation in Parliament on Thursday, he said no amount of frustration or anger could ever justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops.

"We condemn the violence in the strongest possible terms. The attacks violate all the values that South Africa embodies, especially the respect for human life, human rights, human dignity and ubuntu," he said.

"Our country stands firmly against all intolerances such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism." - Jenna Etheridge, News24

16 Apr 15:33

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Police have formed a line and are slowly forcing people up West Street. -  Joe Stolley

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Joe Stolley says the crowd in the CBD is now booing the group of riot police who approached. The police have formed a line across West Street.

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"Every time the water cannon turns people that are in its path flee, but it has not sprayed its dyed water," says Joe Stolley.

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In Parliament, President Jacob Zuma extends condolences to those who have lost loved ones in xenophobic violence.

"South Africans are generally not xenophobic. If they were, we would not have so many foreign nationals who have integrated here."

16 Apr 14:59

16 Apr 14:58
An unhappy crowd has gathered around SABC journalist Ayanda Mhlongo, says Joe Stolley.

16 Apr 14:56
Metro cops now have horses at corner of West and field street. (Joe Stolley, News24 User)

16 Apr 14:48
"Police cars are racing down West Street again," says Joe Stolley.

16 Apr 14:46

Mchunu said,"We pledge for peace. We are aware of a few people in this province who go around looting, selling drugs to our people and breaking the laws of the land. We will support all law enforcement agencies so that our people are safe. We acknowledge that in the past few day our image has been tarnished. We say to the people of KZN, stand up and defend KZN and the property of KZN."

A pledge was read by the Premier and it was signed by all the dignitaries, says Jeff Wicks, who is at City Hall for the Peace March.

16 Apr 14:44

Back at City Hall, KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu says, "Today is a very important day, not only in KZN but in South Africa. Today we made our stand known throughout the continent and the world."

"Our enemy as Africans is poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and diseases that are ravaging out people. Our enemy is not our nationalities. That is not our enemy, we are one. We are here after a log march to say, 'No to xenophobia, we must respect one another, we must respect foreign nationals, this is a march for peace,'" he said to loud cheers.

16 Apr 14:37
Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma answers questions from MPs in the National Assembly.

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