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Foreign nationals arrested in Pretoria to appear in court

On Friday, police forcibly removed foreigners from the parking lot of the UN Refugee Agency following numerous complains from residents in the surrounding areas.

Refugees and foreign nationals outside the UN Refugee Agency building in Brooklyn, Pretoria where they have been removed from the area by police on 15 November 2019. Picture: Kgomotso Modise/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - More than 180 people arrested outside the UN Refugee Agency in Pretoria are expected to appear in court on Monday.

The foreign nationals were all arrested for trespassing on Friday.

About 500 refugees had been camping outside the agency for weeks, demanding to be transported to their home countries due to xenophobia.

On Friday, police forcibly removed foreigners from the parking lot of the UN Refugee Agency following numerous complains from residents in the surrounding areas.

Most resisted but police managed to overpower them as the police's Matapelo Peters explains: "Instead of retaliating, police weighed options in terms of appropriate tactics for crowd management. Water cannons were deployed and police were during the short space police were able to apply tactics that ultimately were ensured minimum injuries."

During clashes, 24 police officers were injured and transported to hospital for treatment. They have since been discharged.

Two hundred and twenty-four foreigners including pregnant women and children are now kept at the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp pending their verification by the Department of Home Affairs.

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