Fists fly at xenophobia peace march

Fists were exchanged and about three men were dragged out of the stadium.

Thousands join the peace march in Durban on 16 April 2015. Police keeping close watch at the hotspots. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

DURBAN - Durban's peace march against xenophobia got off to the wrong start at the Curries Fountain Stadium, with a scuffle breaking out after one man was apparently calling for King Goodwill Zwelithini.

The man was called to order by Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members before a fist fight began. The man and several other people he was with were dragged out of the stadium.

The march resumed shortly after that, but the mood has remained still tense.

People with signs which read, "I am my brother's keeper" and "Africa let's unite" can be seen at the march.

This morning the crowd shouted "down with xenophobia" and "forward with peace" as they sang struggle songs.

#PeaceMarch Religious leaders sending a strong message. GW

#PeaceMarch UKZN has arrived. They say xenophobia is racism. GW

#PeaceMarch A banner with painting of birds drinking water together as a metaphor for love thy neighbour. GW

#PeaceMarch The VIPs demonstrating against xenophobia. GW

#PeaceMarch School pupils with their teachers also here to take a stand against #Xenophobia GW

Religious leaders at the march have sent a strong message saying attacks on foreigners can never be tolerated.

Meanwhile, Anglican archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba has added his voice to calls for an end to the xenophobic violence gripping some parts of the country.

Makgoba says he hoped South Africa would never again see xenophobic violence after a wave of attacks on foreigners in 2008.

Sixty-two people were killed in the violence, seen as a shameful period in South Africa's post-apartheid history.

But he says almost seven years later, tensions have flared up again and people are losing their lives.

Makgoba's called for an end to the violence saying foreigners are god's people too and deserve dignity and protection.

Xenophobic tensions have been running high in KwaZulu-Natal and erupted into deadly violence over the past few days.

LISTEN: 'Xenophobia is not the face of SA'


In Gauteng, Police fired rubber bullets in attempts to disperse a crowd throwing bottles and stones at journalists and police in Benoni on Thursday.

Locals in central Benoni were threatening truck drivers and saying they wanted foreigners to leave the area.

The tension at the scene was evident with police standing on one side and the crowd on the other.

In Jeppestown, six people have been arrested following an outbreak of violence in the area.

Clashes unfolded in the Johannesburg CBD yesterday and in Primrose in the east of the city.

WATCH: Xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg's CBD


Opposition parties have welcomed President Jacob Zuma's decision to address the National Assembly on the violence this afternoon.

Party chief whips were consulted late yesterday after Zuma wrote to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete asking that he be allowed to make a statement.

DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen says it's the right thing to do.

"Parts of the country are flaring up with massive amounts xenophobic attacks. I think it's correct that the president makes a statement, we must condemn this violence in no uncertain terms."