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Pretoria residents head to court to help refugees camping at UNHCR offices

Refugees have been sleeping at the centre for weeks now, demanding to be moved to safety, away from the xenophobic attacks that they have suffered in South Africa.

FILE: Protesters pictured on 16 October 2019 outside the offices of the UNHCR in Pretoria against xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Picture: Jean-Jacques Cornish/EWN

PRETORIA - Residents' groups in Brooklyn and Waterkloof are going to court on Friday to move hundreds of people camped outside offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Pretoria.

Local residents are being asked to contribute to the legal costs.

Refugees have been sleeping at the centre for weeks now, demanding to be moved to safety, away from the xenophobic attacks that they have suffered in South Africa.

The refugees, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said their sit-in was drawing more support daily.

They are being given food and blankets by Pretoria residents.

Spokesperson for the organisation Women and Children in Crisis Alex Nkoy said police were protecting them.

He said they feared the xenophobia in South Africa could develop into a genocide like in Rwanda.