African and British people rallied outside the South African Embassy in London on Tuesday to protest against xenophobic attacks on African immigrants and refugees in South Africa.
The protest was organised by the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, with the support of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
The demonstrators appealed for an end to the shameful violence, and urged reconciliation, African unity and South African government action to remedy poverty.
“We are calling on the people of South Africa to work together to bring an end to xenophobic violence against fellow Africans – and for the South African government to do more to stop these attacks by protecting immigrants and refugees, said Edwin Sesange, Director of Out and Proud.
“We urge the South African government to address the socio-economic problems that are being used as an excuse for anti-immigrant pogroms – and for political, cultural, religious and ethnic leaders to speak out in support of African unity and solidarity, against all hate and victimisation. We appeal to the police, security agencies and courts to bring to justice the people committing these xenophobic assaults.”
His colleague, Abbey Kiwanuka, Chief Executive of Out and Proud, added: “We call upon African nations whose nationals have been victimised to not retaliate but to engage with the South African government to secure a peaceful solution that saves lives and property.”
LGBT human rights activists, Peter Tatchell, commented: “The hope and inspiration of the post-apartheid Rainbow Nation is tarnished by these xenophobic mob attacks on African refugees and immigrants. This violence echoes similar anti-immigrant assaults by the far right in Europe.
“The government of South Africa needs to do much more protect new-comer African communities and to prosecute the perpetrators. It should also remedy the apartheid legacy of poverty and deprivation that has led some South Africans to unfairly scapegoat and demonise refugees and immigrants,” he said.
Thousands are expected to take part in a mass march against xenophobia being held in Johannesburg today (23 April 2015) at 1pm at Pieter Roos Park, ending at Mary Fitzgerald Square (Newtown). Park and ride shuttles are available from Newtown to Pieter Roos Park. More info here and here.