Law enforcement has been forced to fire rubber bullets at the attackers, most of whom were armed with machetes. So far 5 people have died in this clash.
Johannesburg – South African police fired rubber bullets Friday to disperse crowds setting immigrant businesses ablaze as attacks against foreigners spread to Johannesburg.
Chanting and singing, machete-armed residents burned down shops owned by foreigners, including a Nigerian dealership in the nation’s largest city.
Immigrants carrying bricks accused police of not doing enough to protect them as businesses smoldered.
Five people killed
Violence targeting immigrant shops started recently in the port city of Durban, where two foreigners and three South Africans were killed. Residents have accused African immigrants of taking their jobs and committing crimes. The unemployment rate in South Africa is 25%, according to government figures.
President Jacob Zuma slammed the assertion, saying his government is addressing social and economic issues brought up by citizens. He said immigrants contribute to the nation’s economy while others bring scarce skills.
“While some foreign nationals have been arrested for various crimes, it is misleading and wrong to label or regard all foreign nationals as being involved in crime in the country,” Zuma said.
As the violence spread to other cities, terrified immigrants sought a resolution. Others fled, taking refuge at police stations in major cities.
“They are using this as scapegoats,” said Jean-Pierre Lukamba, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Read more: CNN