Arrests in South Africa rise to more than 3,400 after riots

Detenções na África do Sul sobem para mais de 3400 após tumultos

The number of arrests in South Africa has risen to 3,407 following recent riots and looting that caused 212 deaths, the National Operations and Information Structure said (NatJOINTS).

"As of this morning, a total of 3,407 suspects have been arrested on various charges since the start of the violence (...), with one suspect being granted bail, and 1,122 are due to appear in different courts in the two most affected provinces, with the remaining cases being investigated," NatJOINTS advanced in a statement.

The structure also advanced that "tension seems to have calmed down" in the country and that the security forces are carrying out operations to recover stolen goods in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the two provinces affected by the acts of violence.

During this weekend's operations, 14 people suspected of being in possession of goods looted during the riots, such as televisions, computers, furniture and clothing, were arrested in Gauteng province and 92 others in KwaZulu-Natal province.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa today thanked the millions of people who refused to take part in the destruction of "lives, livelihoods and property" during the riots that took place about a week ago.

"We cannot say that similar attacks will not be attempted in the future, nor that those who seek to divide us will cease their efforts," Cyril Ramaphosa stressed at the celebrations for Nelson Mandela International Day, which is celebrated annually on July 18, the birth date of the former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The first incidents, with burning tires and blocking roads, happened last week, the day after former President Jacob Zuma was arrested for contempt of the Constitutional Court.

Warehouses, factories and shopping centers were looted and violence spread to the country's largest city, Johannesburg, against a backdrop of endemic unemployment and new restrictions against covid-19.

Violence and looting also broke out in the Regents Park neighborhood, south of Johannesburg, where at least 300 Portuguese live, councilor José Luís da Silva told Lusa.

The incidents occurred early Saturday morning in Victoria Street, a residential area where a significant number of Portuguese live, mostly from the island of Madeira, who operate various businesses, explained the adviser to the Madeiran diaspora in Johannesburg.

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