The march on Thursday, which included religious leaders and concerned citizens, comes after weeks of attacks against foreign nationals in which at least five people have been killed and 74 people arrested since the end of March, according to Colonel Jay Naicker, the police spokesperson.
Al Jazeera’s Mukelwa Hlatshwayo, reporting from the march in the coastal city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, said that as many as 5,000 people had joined the procession and that the atmosphere was calm with people ulilating and singing songs of solidarity
Reuters news agency reported that bullets had been shot into the crowd but our reporter said she had only witnessed a few people shouting into the crowd on the sidelines of the procession that “foreigners must go home.”
Many shops remained closed in the business capital of the country, Johannesburg in the Gauteng province fearing attacks as well.
Groups of people were said to have travelled to Durban from other provinces to join in the show of solidarity with the foreign nationals.
Similar attacks occurred in 2008, leaving at least 60 people dead.
Messages circulating on social media warned people in Gauteng province and KwaZulu-Natal to be on high alert for possible attacks and to also remain indoors.
In Malawi, officials have set up transit camps expected to house Malawians returning to the country, Kondwani Nankhumwa, the country’s information minister, said.
More than 2,000 foreigners have already sought shelter in refugee camps in Durban, a South African aid group said on Wednesday.
To read the rest of this report, go to aljazeera.com