Note: for an explanation of the link between the eviction issues of South Africa’s poor and the evictions of our African brothers and sisters from their communities, please see this press statement. Other news articles on the march:Candice Bailey - IOL June 02 2008 at 03:46PM
Hundreds of immigrants and refugees marched through the city centre this morning en route to Parliament to condemn the recent xenophobic attacks and to ask government for urgent intervention.
Monitored by a strong police presence, the more than 1 500 people, mostly Somalis, flanked the streets through District Six.
“We fought for freedom and now we die of xenophobia,” said one massive banner.
Some of the marchers wore T shirts with the slogan “foreigners” on the front and “stand together against xenophobia” at the back.
The march was organised by the Western Cape Somali community.
Western Cape Somali community board chairman Ab-duhl Karakoos said: “Xenophobia is like a disease so we are trying to have a treatment campaign.
The attacks may be finished, but there is still a long way to go before everyone recovers. The wounds are still sore. We’ve lost everything and we have nothing, we have to start again.”
Among the demands which were to be handed over in a memorandum are violent prevention mechanisms that involve intelligence networks to root out criminal elements inciting locals against refugees; rapid reaction police posts created in the townships and crime infested hotspots; and improved police response to minimise criminal activities against refugees.
Marchers were demanding compensation packages aimed at those who lost everything in order to restart businesses.
A further demand was resettlement to a third country by those who did not want to go back to the townships.
The march was supported by several civil society groups including the TAC, the Aids Law project, the Anti Eviction Campaign and Cosatu.
Zackie Achmat of the TAC slammed the slow response of the government and the UN.