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Refugees chant 'no more South Africa' as case postponed

They were arrested last week for trespassing after they allegedly tried to force their way back into the UNHCR offices where police were carrying out a court order to remove them.

FILE: Foreign nationals appeared in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on 18 November 2019 over clashes with the police, which saw 24 officers being injured. Picture: EWN

TSHWANE - The case against over 180 refugees arrested following clashes with police outside the offices of the United Nations High Commission office in Brooklyn was heard in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Monday.

Over 500 refugees were removed from the premises on Friday after camping outside the agency for over a month.

They want to be relocated to another country following a spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

About 185 refugees appeared in groups of roughly 30 in court because they could not all be accommodated at once.

They were arrested last week for trespassing after they allegedly tried to force their way back into the UNHCR offices where police were carrying out a court order to remove them.

Most of those appearing on Monday were men and Congolese nationals. The majority said they wanted to get their own legal representation.

The magistrate has postponed their case to Thursday to allow officials time to verify their statuses and to check whether they had any other pending convictions.

Shortly after the magistrate adjourned court the group of refugees sang “no more South Africa” as they were escorted by police back into custody.