Immigration is not just a Western problem. And opponents of illegal immigration are not only white Europeans or the United States. On Friday in Pretoria, South Africa, an anti-immigrant march was more radical than “extreme right” demonstrations in Europe. Exacerbated by the presence of illegal immigrants, especially Nigerians, but also Sudanese, Somalis, etc., South Africans mainly from poor neighborhoods organized a march aimed at chasing immigrants from the capital.
Groups of South Africans and groups of immigrants violently clashed with machetes, sticks and stones.
The South African police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds.
Many unemployed South Africans accuse immigrants of taking up their jobs or living on various traffics.
Earlier this week, crowds of angry South Africans had already looted Somali, Pakistani and other migrant shops in townships around Pretoria and parts of Johannesburg.
“They [foreigners] should know that they are guests in my house, I treat them with respect, they should treat me with respect,” a protester told the BBC.
Nigerian immigrants in South Africa are also accused of drug trafficking.
“These people sell drugs: they have squatted all these buildings!” When I denounce this, they say that I am xenophobic! I’m sick of it! We complain to the police but it does not do anything. What is to be done? We are not violent, but we are not pushing … “, says an exasperated South African.
Petitions also circulate to denounce the various nuisances caused by immigrants whose behavior is considered more and more arrogant.
The Minister of Home Affairs announced on Thursday plans to inspect workplaces to see if companies employ undocumented aliens.
The unemployment rate is over 26% in South Africa, while the country has between 1.5 and 2 million foreigners.
South Africa experienced its most serious episode of violence against foreigners in 2008, when more than 60 people died. Two years ago, similar unrest in the cities of Johannesburg and Durban killed seven people.