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SA officials verifying refugee status of foreign nationals arrested at UN office

More than 180 refugees arrested following clashes with police outside the offices of the United Nations Human Rights Agency in the Pretoria have been remanded in custody until their next court appearances.

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

JOHANNESBURG - More than 180 refugees arrested following clashes with police outside the offices of the United Nations Human Rights Agency in the Pretoria have been remanded in custody until their next court appearances.

The group appeared in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Monday on charges of trespassing.

They were part of a group of about 500 refugees who had been camping outside the premises for over a month.

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

The over 180 refugees made their first court appearance yesterday, where they were divided into small groups as they could not all be accommodated at once.

The majority of them opted for their own legal representation and abandoned a bail application.

Many made it clear that they did not want to live in this country anymore while chanting "No more South Africa" in court.

Officials will spend the next couple of days verifying the group's refugee status and whether they had any other pending cases or convictions.

The State said it was possible that some of those arrested may also face charges of public violence as investigations continued.

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