Harare, April 17, 2015 – Dozens of Zimbabweans on Friday defied the deployment of truncheon wielding police officers to stage a demonstration at the South African embassy in protest against the ongoing xenophobic attacks which have left some foreign nationals dead.
The placard waving protesters picketed at the South African embassy in Harare and handed over a petition denouncing the callous butchering and persecution of immigrants in the neighbouring southern African country.
The presence of truncheon wielding police officers who attempted to disperse people from the embassy on the basis that the demonstration was not sanctioned could not daunt the protesters as they broke into song and dance outside the embassy’s premises.
The protesters waved some placards with messages which read; “Save lives stop xenophobic attacks,” “Mr President your people are suffering please do something” and “We fought apartheid together why fighting us?”
Through the petition, the protesters implored South African authorities to hold accountable the perpetrators of the xenophobic attacks.
“We call upon the Government of South Africa, in line with provisions in their Constitution and International legal obligations, to protect the rights of all people living in South Africa and to address the root causes of xenophobia. We demand that the South African Police Service and the South African Human Rights Commission thoroughly investigate the xenophobic attacks and hold all those responsible accountable. We note with disappointment that perpetrators of previous xenophobic violence were not held accountable for the killing of more than 60 people across South Africa in 2008,” reads part of the petition, which was endorsed by more than 30 Zimbabwean civil society organisations.
The xenophobic attacks which first broke out in Durban have spread to other parts of South Africa and have left some people dead while several people are nursing injuries.
South African President Jacob Zuma and African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have condemned the attacks on foreign immigrants and called on their fellow countrymen and women to stop the attacks.
However, Zimbabweans have expressed concern over the silence from SADC and African Union chairperson President Robert Mugabe.
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and Zuma’s son Edward have been blamed for sparking the violence and instigating the xenophobic attacks through their reckless statements.