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03.09.2019 South Africa

South Africa wakes up to fresh anti-foreigner violence

By AFP
Angry protesters looted alleged foreign-owned shops in Johannesburg in a new wave of violence.  By Michele Spatari (AFP)
SEP 3, 2019 SOUTH AFRICA
Angry protesters looted alleged foreign-owned shops in Johannesburg in a new wave of violence. By Michele Spatari (AFP)

South African police patrolled central Johannesburg on Tuesday after the financial capital was hit by a new wave of anti-foreigner violence.

Rocks, bricks and rubber bullets strewed the empty streets of Alexandra after mobs plundered the township overnight, burning and looting the shops in their path.

AFP photographers in Alexandra said police presence remained heavy and that rubber bullets were still being fired to disperse the crowds. The police were scheduled to meet with community leaders later on Tuesday.

The township was scene to a second night of urban rioting in Johannesburg, where hundreds of people marched through the streets on Monday in an unusually large expression of anti-foreigner sentiment.

More than 90 people were arrested "after looting shops and damaging property in Johannesburg and surrounding areas", said a government statement released late on Monday.

Such violence breaks out sporadically in South Africa where many nationals blame immigrants for high unemployment, particularly in manual labour.

South African truckers also started a nation-wide strike on Sunday to protest against the employment of foreign drivers.

They staged road blockades and torched foreign-driven vehicles in various parts of the country on Monday.

At least another 20 people were arrested in connection with the truck attacks near the coastal city of Durban and in the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, the government statement said, bringing the total number up to more than 110.

South Africa is a major destination for economic migrants from the southern Africa region, with many moving from neighbouring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in search for work.

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