JOHANNESBURG, (Xinhua) — Thousands of South Africans and foreigners took part in a peace march in Johannesburg on Thursday, calling for an end to xenophobia violence.
The People’s March Against Xenophobia brought together the civil society, faith-based organisations, academia, educators and school students, as well as government and the private sector in the wake of widespread xenophobia violence that has hit parts of the country over the past few weeks.
Singing and dancing, about 30,000 people gathered at the Peter Roos Park in Park Town and marched to the Mary Fitzgerald Square through several streets to show solidarity with foreign nationals.
The march was an overwhelming show of support for predominantly desperate Africans who have been under attack in the latest wave of xenophobia violence that has killed at least seven people and displaced thousands of foreigners.
The people in Johannesburg and other places in Gauteng Province were demonstrating solidarity with all affected communities living among us, and our rejection of the violence, said Gauteng Premier David Makhura who led the march along with members of the provincial legislature.
“We are determined to show the compassionate side of South Africa that welcomes instead of injures.”
City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau was also joining the march.
Both the offices of the premier and mayor have been involved in working with the coalition organizing the march to ensure that this is a peaceful event that demonstrates the overwhelming rejection of these heinous acts, the mayor’s office said.
Law enforcement officials and over 2,000 marshals were on hand to guarantee the safety of individuals attending the march.
The march was an emergency coalition convened to confront the horrors of xenophobia in South Africa, and to take a stand to denounce the violence and embrace unity, organizers said.