Riot police monitor Zim Black Friday protest

2015-04-17 13:56
A Somali shopowner gets ready to leave his general dealer following looting and violence in Durban. (Jeff Wicks, News24)

A Somali shopowner gets ready to leave his general dealer following looting and violence in Durban. (Jeff Wicks, News24)

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Harare - Riot police in Harare monitored an anti-xenophobia protest by civil society activists and Zimbabweans on Friday at the South African embassy, a non-governmental organisation official said.

"The police came in their numbers but when they discovered that the South African embassy was entertaining us then they couldn't stop the demonstration," said Sithabile Dewa, a programme manager for the Heal Zimbabwe Trust.

"We managed to hand over a petition to the deputy ambassador of South Africa who promised to convey the message to President [Jacob] Zuma that Zimbabweans are not happy with the way Africans and Zimbabweans in South Africa are treated," she told News24.

Demonstrators held up posters, one of which read: "Africa is for Africans. Why kill a brother?"

There were unconfirmed reports that Zimbabwe police may have clashed with youths mounting a similar protest elsewhere in the capital. The protest appeared to be about xenophobia and the ongoing mystery over Zimbabwe activist Itai Dzamara's whereabouts, said Dewa. Dzamara, a pro-democracy activist was abducted more than a month ago.

Youths from President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party have meanwhile been told that they may hold an anti-xenophobia protest on Tuesday. Police warned, however, they must stay in Harare's central Africa Unity Square and that they may not march through the streets, official documents show.

Zanu-PF said in a statement that it was "alarmed by the xenophobic violence perpetrated on foreign nationals including hundreds of Zimbabweans living in South Africa".

The authorities are on Sunday to begin evacuating over 1 000 Zimbabweans from South Africa following claims that at least two - a woman and a child - were killed in the violence.

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  itai dzamara  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  xenophobia  |  crime  |  southern africa  |  looting
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