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24 cops injured in clashes with foreign nationals in Pretoria

About 500 foreign national were forcefully removed from the yard of the agency after they had been camping there for weeks.

FILE: Refugees occupied the UNCHR building in Pretoria in November 2019 demanding that they be assisted to leave the country following attacks on foreign nationals. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng police on Saturday said that 24 members were injured during clashes between officers and foreigners outside the United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency in Pretoria.

About 500 foreign national were forcefully removed from the yard of the agency after they had been camping there for weeks.

They were demanding to be taken back to their respective home countries after fleeing their homes in Gauteng. Their sit-in followed a wave of xenophobic attacks across the province.

The provincial police spokesperson, Mathapelo Pieters, said they had no choice but to act since the crowd became uncontrollable.

“As soon as police entered the property, the group started attacking the members, while women on the group were carrying babies on their sides. This made it difficult for the police to react.”

Meanwhile, more than 180 foreign nationals who had been camping at the refugee agency were arrested in Pretoria.

Pieters said: “At least 182 men and one woman were taken into custody at different police stations. At least 224 women, 169 children and seven men were bused to a centre, pending the conclusion of a verification process by Home Affairs.”