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Several People Injured, Businesses Shutdown As South Africans Clash With Foreigners

Operation Dudula in South Africa

A clash between locals and immigrants in Alexandra township in Johannesburg has left several people injured, hawkers’ stalls destroyed and many businesses shut down.

According to eyewitnesses, the fight broke out when a group of South Africans went around the township forcibly shutting down businesses owned by foreigners and asking locals to take over their vending stalls.

Police have since calmed down the situation, but residents have vowed to shut down the township until all foreigners are forced to leave the place.

Police say at least five people were injured and two of them were hospitalized.

Members of the Alexandra Dudula Movement, which is part of #PutSouthAfricaFirst calling for the removal of all illegal foreign nationals from the country, claims that they retaliated when they were attacked by immigrants.

Agnes Malatjie, said, “We are scared of our lives here because a Zimbabwean was overheard saying some people will be killed in this place before the violence started.”

But a Zimbabwean, who requested anonymity, claimed that Operation Dudula proponents attacked foreigners while they were selling their wares at the local market.

“We are capable of hitting back hard but we have a lot of respect for local people. What they are doing is wrong. It’s unlawful,” he said.

A Mozambican, who also requested anonymity, said, “We are not afraid of these people. No. We have given a lot of time for them to change their minds about harassing foreigners. Enough is enough. We no longer respect them and so we will make sure that this place is shutdown. They need to respect us if we are to reopen the market.”

But unhappy locals are vowing to shutdown the market until all foreigners are forced to leave.

Alexandra police chief, Brigadier Max Masha, said South Africans are free to protest but not allowed to evict foreigners from work places, markets and other places.

“They are free to protest peacefully but it’s unlawful to harass people. We will arrest all those that break the law,” he said.

#PutSouthAfricaFirst claims that illegal immigrants have “grabbed” most of the jobs in South Africa and as a result, they should be forced to leave the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has in the past appealed to South Africans to avoid taking the law into their own hands on immigration and other issues.

VOA Correspondent Thuso Khumalo contributed to this article

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