Thousands march for peace in Joburg

SEVERAL thousand people marched through South Africa's largest city in a demonstration against recent attacks on immigrants that killed seven people.

Demonstrators walked through the center of Johannesburg on Thursday, passing neighbourhoods that are home to many immigrants, a large number of whom come from other African countries.

The marchers included university students and children in school uniform. They were carrying placards with slogans including "Africa Unite" and "Say No To Xenophobia."

The violence against immigrants in South Africa this month occurred in Johannesburg and another major city, Durban. The attacks stemmed from a perception among some South Africans that immigrants are taking jobs and opportunities at their expense.

Reports said Bishop Paul Verryn opened the march with a moment of silence. A wave of "Shhs" went through the crowd as it fell quiet.

"Allah, Yahweh, the Great One, God Almighty have mercy on us," Verryn said. "In a country that is almost completely religious, what has been happening… has nothing to do with religion.

"We say very clearly 'no' in the name of our gods against violence against foreign nationals." He said the country was still "bedevilled" by hatred and intolerance.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the crowd had come together to show that all people in the country, regardless of their nationalities, were human beings.

"We are united… in action against xenophobia. What brings us together for this one moment is unity," he said. "We are going to defeat xenophobia like we defeated apartheid."

Post published in: Africa News

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