IN PICTURES: Foreign nationals want out of SA

Foreign nationals have been clashing with police in Cape Town's Green Market Square. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Around 100 people were arrested on Wednesday as part of an operation to disperse a group of refugees and asylum seekers who had staged a prolonged sit-in near the United Nations refugee agency in Cape Town, police said.

The refugees and asylum seekers have been camping outside the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for weeks, asking to be moved out of South Africa, where they say they do not feel safe after a wave of xenophobic violence.

READ: Protests turn violent in Cape Town

Local media showed footage of police firing water cannon into the crowd of protesters, some of whom were visibly distressed or had small children strapped to their backs, and removing personal items like clothes, sleeping bags and cooking equipment from the street.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) said in a statement they moved in to evict around 300 people from the area in accordance with a court order.

"About one hundred people have been arrested after they failed to heed the call to disperse," the statement said, adding that the UNHCR had tried to resolve the impasse without success.

READ: Cape Town welcomes new firefighters to the force

The refugees want to be repatriated to their home countries or moved elsewhere after a spate of deadly riots and attacks in September, which killed at least 10 people and left many foreigners afraid to live in the country.

The violence was targeted at African immigrant populations, sparked reprisal attacks, overshadowed a pan-African economic conference in Cape Town and drove a wedge between South Africa and other nations on the continent, including its other major economy, Nigeria.

Hundreds of people were arrested during the violence, which has flared up periodically in South Africa.

South African Police officer gestures as they forcefully remove refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for Refugees, In Cape Town on October 30, 2019.

South African Police officer gestures as they forcefully remove refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for Refugees, In Cape Town on October 30, 2019. 

AFP
A woman (C) shouts as a South African Police officer assisted by Cape Town Metro Police forcefully remove refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for refugees, In Cape Town on October 30, 2019.

A woman (C) shouts as a South African Police officer assisted by Cape Town Metro Police forcefully remove refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for refugees, In Cape Town on October 30, 2019.

AFP
A man holds up a picture of an injured man as South African Police officers forcefully remove refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for refugees, In Cape Town on October 30, 2019.

A man holds up a picture of an injured man as South African Police officers forcefully remove refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for refugees, In Cape Town on October 30, 2019. 

AFP
A man holds a sign while demonstrating against South African Police assisted by Cape Town Metro Police while they forcefully removed refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for Refugees (UNHCR), in Cape Town, On October 30, 2019.

A man holds a sign while demonstrating against South African Police assisted by Cape Town Metro Police while they forcefully removed refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for Refugees (UNHCR), in Cape Town, On October 30, 2019.

AFP
A woman holds onto her baby as South African Police officers forcefully remove refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for refugees, In Cape Town on October 30, 2019. 

A woman holds onto her baby as South African Police officers forcefully remove refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for refugees, In Cape Town on October 30, 2019. 

AFP
A man gets arrested as South African Police officers forcefully remove refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for refugees, In Cape Town on October 30, 2019.

A man gets arrested as South African Police officers forcefully remove refugees from various countries who were camping outside the Cape Town offices of the United Nations Council for refugees, In Cape Town on October 30, 2019. 

AFP

Refugees protest being forcibly removed from Market Square in  Cape Town.

eNCA
Foreign nationals protest forced removal from Cape Towns Market Square. 

Foreign nationals protest forced removal from Cape Towns Market Square. 

eNCA
Forced removal of foreign nationals

Foreign national forcibly removed by police in Cape Towns market square.

eNCA
Foreign nationals have clashed with police in Cape Town.

Foreign nationals have clashed with police in Cape Town.

etvNews/Natalie Malgas
Source
Reuters