Protests turn violent in Cape Town

Foreign nationals in Greenmarket Square, Cape Town clashed with police on Wednesday.

Editor's note: Please be aware this story contains graphic images of a disturbing nature.

CAPE TOWN - A three-week sit-in escalated on Wednesday when Cape Town Metro Police arrested multiple foreign nationals, demanding the UNHCR remove them from South Africa for their own safety.

The Cape Town UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has been the site of an extended sit-in staged by hundreds of refugees.

READ: Hundreds of foreigners camp outside UN offices, demand to leave SA

In August and early September, the country saw a wave of xenophobic violence that left 12 people killed, most of them South Africans, when mobs descended on foreign-owned stores in and around Johannesburg, destroying properties and looting. 

One of the nationals who were arrested said the protest wasn't violent.

"They arrested everyone here," he said.

"We came here to claim our rights."