Protests sparked by ex-president Jacob Zuma’s arrest in South Africa last week for failing to appear at a corruption investigation have devolved into looting and an outpouring of widespread outrage over the misery and injustice that linger 27 years after apartheid ended.
On Wednesday, crowds in South Africa ransacked shops and offices, ignoring government demands to end a week of violence that claimed the lives of more than 70 people and destroyed hundreds of businesses.
Shopping malls and warehouses have been destroyed or set ablaze in a number of towns, primarily in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as Johannesburg and the adjacent Gauteng province.
The protests, the worst in years in South Africa, hampered hospitals that were dealing with a third wave of COVID-19 and prompted a refinery to close.
Soldiers have been deployed to the streets to assist outmanned police in containing the turmoil, and order was being restored in some areas on Wednesday, including the Alexandra township in northern Johannesburg, according to local television.