Pro­test­ers ran­sack cloth­ing firm stores over ‘racist’ ad

The Gulf Today - - WORLD -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG: Pro­test­ers an­gered by a “racist” H&M ad­ver­tise­ment ran­sacked sev­eral of the Swedish fash­ion group’s South African stores on Satur­day.

Theeco­nomicfree­dom­fight­ers(eff) pro­test­ers tar­geted six H&M stores in the Gaut­eng prov­ince, where South Africa’s eco­nomic hub of Jo­han­nes­burg is lo­cated, tear­ing down shop dis­plays and throw­ing clothes around, po­lice said.

In one in­stance, ofi­cers ired rub­ber bullets to dis­perse the pro­test­ers, the po­lice added.

H&M ear­lier this week is­sued an apol­ogy for the widely crit­i­cised ad, which fea­tured a black child mod­el­ling a sweat­shirt with the slo­gan “coolest mon­key in the jun­gle,” and said it had re­moved it from all its mar­ket­ing.

But Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi, spokesman for the ul­tra-left EFF, said that was too lit­tle, too late.

“The time of apolo­gies for racism are over; there must be con­se­quences to an­tiblack racism, pe­riod!” Nd­lozi wrote on Twit­ter, post­ing pic­tures of a van­dalised H&M store and video footage of chant­ing EFF sup­port­ers.

H&M South Africa did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment, but its lo­cal web­site car­ried an apol­ogy for the ad­ver­tise­ment.

“Our po­si­tion is sim­ple, we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry,” the apol­ogy read.

Po­lice said they were mon­i­tor­ing the protests, but that they had made no ar­rests so far.

Protests over per­ceived cor­po­rate wrong­do­ing have a his­tory of turn­ing vi­o­lent in South Africa, where some driv­ers for ride-hail­ing ser­vice Uber have had their ve­hi­cles torched over the past year by reg­u­lar taxi op­er­a­tors.

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