Protesters ransack H&M shops in South Africa amid anger over ‘racist’ image of child model

Protestors have ransacked H&M shops in South Africa amid continued anger over a “racist” promotional image on the retailer’s web site. 

The demonstrations had been organised by the unconventional Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opposition occasion after the clothes chain issued an image of a black child modelling a hoodie with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

Police used rubber bullets to disperse a mob from one of six shops focused in Johannesburg and elsewhere in Gauteng province on Saturday. 

Videos on social media confirmed demonstrators singing songs and waving placards as they walked by means of one retailer, whereas garments had been pictured scattered throughout the ground of one other. 

“Several incidents of protests at H&M stores around the province have been reported,” stated the South African Police Service (SAPS) on Twitter. “At the East Rand Mall the protesters managed to enter the shop & stole several items. SAPS members had to intervene and dispersed the group of protesters by firing rubber bullets.”

About 150 EFF members staged a peaceable protest at one other retailer in Cape Town, stated police.

EFF urged South African purchasing malls to evict the Swedish retailer, which has apologised and eliminated the hoodie from sale.

Floyd Shivambu, an MP for EFF, 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.”

He claimed the retailer had been pressured to shut all of its shops in South Africa on Saturday.

In a message on its South African web site, the retailer apologised for the image which sparked the protests.

“We have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry,” an announcement stated. 

NBA star LeBron James, Manchester United strike Romelu Lukaku, and singer The Weeknd had been amongst high-profile figures who spoke out to sentence the advert.

H&M has eliminated the image from on-line promotions nevertheless it continues to be circulated on social media, the place some have referred to as for a boycott of the corporate.

Another consumer wrote: “This is racist and insensitive. This beautiful boy doesn’t even know what H&M is making out of him. A whole team shooting and no one saw what’s wrong with this.”

A H&M spokesman stated: “We perceive that many individuals are upset concerning the image of the kids’s hoodie. We, who work at H&M, can solely agree.

“We’re deeply sorry that the image was taken, and we additionally remorse the precise print. 

“It’s obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”

Additional reporting by companies

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