H&M stores closed following attacks by protesters

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Karabo Ngoepe

JOHANNESBURG- Clothing retailer H&M stores were forced to close down on after protesters stormed various of its shops in Gauteng.

Gauteng police on Saturday said they had received reports of vandalism and looting at various shops in the province.

“Several incidents as a result of protests at H&M stores around the province have been reported,” spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said.

He said protesters hit the stores in East Rand Mall in Ekurhuleni and Menlyn Shopping Centre in Pretoria. He said police were called to quell the situation.

“At the East Rand Mall the protesters managed to enter the shop and stole several items.  Police had to intervene and dispersed the group of protesters by firing rubber bullets.
In Menlyn-protestors also managed to enter the shop and threw clothing around.  At this stage nothing has been reported to have been stolen,” he said.

H&M made headlines earlier in the week when a picture of a black child used as a model was made to wear a hoodie written the “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

The company apologised on its Twitter account and said it would investigate the advert. It said it had removed the image from it’s  channels, but also the garment from our product offering.

Economic Freedom Fighters members were said to be behind the attacks on th shops. The party’s Deputy President Floyd Shivambu tweeted: “That @hm nonsense of a clothing store is now facing consequences for its racism. All rational people should agree that the store should not be allowed to continue operating in South Africa. Well done to Fighters who physically confronted racism.”

Dlamini said police were monitoring the situation at the different malls where the retail chain has a store.

“The shops in all other areas are reported to have been closed and police are monitoring the situation. No arrests have been effected up to so far.  There will be an update regarding any further developments,” said Dlamini.

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