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(en) Southern africa, Anarchist Zabalaza #9 - CHRONOLOGY OF THE ATTACKS BY STEFANIE KNOLL

Date Fri, 05 Sep 2008 06:56:50 +0300



On 15 March 2008 a xenophobic mob attacked shops of immigrants in Mamelodi, the
township with the most immigrants in Tshwane (Pretoria). Fifteen shops were
looted and burnt down; in one of them a nine-year-old girl died in the flames.
Residents of the township publicly declared that immigrants burnt their own
shops (Pretoria News, 16.4.08). ---- On 18 March two immigrants were killed in
Atteridgeville near Tshwane, more were hurt, and shops of immigrants burnt down.
This led to more attacks in the area. Hundreds fled to the local police station,
others to a school, to save themselves. In the following weeks more attacks
happened and four more people were killed. Out of the hundreds of refugees at
the school, only the legal ones could stay. Many illegal immigrants and victims
of attacks were deported.

These are only two of many attacks in recent years. The
events that have been reported all over the world have happened
since 10 May, when attacks started in Alexandra. Many immi-
grants and a South African were attacked and killed in Alex, their
shacks burnt down and shops looted. A few days after the events
in Alexandra, pogroms started in Diepsloot, north of
Johannesburg. This was not the first xenophobic attack there.
Only one month before, South Africans had attacked immigrants
and about 100 people had lost their homes within a short time.
Police only arrived hours later even though they had known
about the attack before it happened. It was the police that told a
meeting of the Community Policing Forum the night before that
immigrants were the ones responsible for crime. Only a few
hours after the meeting took place the attacks started. This time
the attacks were even worse, a Zimbabwean living in Diepsloot
tells us. He still can't believe what he has seen with his own
eyes. In only two days, six people were killed and hundreds
wounded. This time it was mostly Zimbabweans who were
attacked. The Zimbabwean thinks that many victims would like
to return to Zimbabwe, but the situation there is as bad. Many
have lived here for many years and even have families here.
Nevertheless many now return because they would prefer to die
in their own country.
Diepsloot is a huge township but when the attacks started the
police only sent in two vehicles. Our informant thinks that the
police are not interested in helping immigrants. Too often they
are victims of the police themselves. The perpetrators are most-
ly school children whose parents are unemployed, he thinks.
That's why they loot shops and immigrants' flats.
On 17 May the attacks spread to the East Rand. Five people
died in Cleveland, two of them burnt alive. There was a mas-
sacre in a hostel in Reiger Park in which a 71-year-old South
African was beaten to death. Shops in the centre of
Johannesburg were attacked and immigrants attacked on the
streets. A few days later the attacks spread to the West Rand,
then to Mpumalanga. On 20 May they reached Durban, where
there were also deaths. Pictures from Cape Town that went
around the world are shocking, not because they show dead bod-
ies but "ordinary people", even older women, who looted shops
and laughed when immigrants drove past them to flee.
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