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Number of foreign nationals at Pretoria UNHCR increase amid looming court action

The residents' associations of Brooklyn and Waterkloof are seeking a court order forcing the Tshwane metropolitan authority, South African Police Service and Department of Home Affairs to move the refugees.

Foreign nationals, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, on 16 October 2019 protested outside the offices of the UNHCR in Pretoria against xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Picture: Jean-Jacques Cornish/EWN

CAPE TOWN/PRETORIA - The number of foreign nationals holding a sit-in at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has increased in number.

Ten portals have been provided and they have pitched tents on the pavements.

The residents' associations of Brooklyn and Waterkloof are seeking a court order forcing the Tshwane metropolitan authority, South African Police Service and Department of Home Affairs to move the refugees.

More than 600 people, mainly Congolese citizens, are involved in the protest that has lasted more than three weeks.
Residents said the refugees posed health and security risks.

The UNHCR said moving the group was a complex matter, as hundreds of thousands of other refugees are also in need around the world.

Meanwhile, in Cape Town, police and the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement have moved in to disperse foreigners from United Nations offices in the CBD on Wednesday.

Dozens of people have been camping outside the UN Refugee Agency offices in the Mother City.

Police and law enforcement officers carried some people away, loading them into armoured vehicles.

They had initially warned the protesting foreign nationals to leave before moving in with force.

Mothers clutched their children as the drama unfolded around them.

Eyewitness News spoke to a woman who was approached by police as she sat holding her baby to her chest.
“We are here fighting for our rights. Leave us!”