Riots in Jozi

JOHANNESBURG - Violence broke out at Rossettenville refugee centre here at the weekend when a group of Zimbabweans became impatient and rowdy over the long hours spent waiting to see Home Affairs officials. The crowd were attempting to get application papers for asylum. Police were called and were f

orced to use rubber bullets. Rodgers Mudarikwa, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Action Support Group (ZASG), said the disturbances began 3 and 5am. Police fought running battles with the group and ended up using rubber bullets to quell the situation. Many people were injured in the ensuing battles but there were no reports of any deaths. ‘Many more people were arrested and they are now at Lindela holding camp. The majority of those at Rossettenville centre when the riots broke out were Zimbabweans,’ said Mudarikwa. ZASG has written a protest letter to the Home Affairs ministry demanding an explanation over the delays. The group also demanded a halt to mass deportations following reports that over 200 Zimbabweans were sent back home by train on Monday evening. ‘The South African government is set to deport a further 300 Wednesday night and this is unacceptable. Among those deported on Monday were genuine political activists including a former bodyguard to MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai.’ The ZASG has sought the services of human rights lawyers to force the Pretoria government to stop the deportations, which apparently are now being fast tracked since Zimbabwe signed a defence and security pact with South Africa in December last year. – SW Radio Africa

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