South African police fire tear gas at protesters against racism

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South African police on Friday fired tear gas at opposition activists protesting against alleged racism at a Cape Town school where a white one-year party was accused until the end was organized last month.

Anti-riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of members of the radical left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) rally near the school. The protesters dispersed and regrouped a few blocks away.

The protests were the latest in a series of demonstrations against alleged racism at Brackenfell High School after the dance party held sometime in late October. A few days after the party, EFF members tried to march to the school but were blocked by some of the students’ parents, which resulted in fist fights.

Broadly shared videos showed dramatic scenes of angry white people beating EFF’s black protesters on the streets on 9 November.

The confrontation disrupted President Cyril Ramaphosa, who demanded a probe and described the clashes as “deeply regrettable.” “The spectacle of parents and protesters hitting the school gate is deeply unfortunate,” Ramaphosa said, adding that the development brought back “harmful memories from a past we should never try to return to.”

The clashes occurred a few weeks after similar racist protests in the central agricultural town of Senekal over the murder of a white farm manager by suspected black attackers. Despite the end of apartheid a generation ago, racial tensions in South Africa often remain high.

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