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South African protesters ransack H&M stores over 'racist' ad

Stock MarketsJan 13, 2018 01:23PM ET
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© Reuters. Vandalised H&M store is seen in Sandton

By Alexander Winning

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Protesters angered by a "racist" H&M advertisement ransacked several of the Swedish fashion group's South African stores on Saturday.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (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, officers fired rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, the police added.

H&M earlier this week issued an apology for the widely criticized ad, which featured a black child modeling 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 anti-black racism, period!" Ndlozi wrote on Twitter, posting pictures of a vandalized 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.

South African protesters ransack H&M stores over 'racist' ad
 

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Denzel Heden
Denzel Heden Jan 14, 2018 1:24AM ET
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They should have put fire in all H&M Stores. ...and ban the brand in all African Countries
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Jonathan Ben
Wanderlust Jan 13, 2018 8:33PM ET
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Every time I read stuff like this I think of selling my sasol taking the money and investing in dow
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Elisha Thomas
Elisha Thomas Jan 13, 2018 4:30PM ET
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I totally saw this coming like an AAPL rally!!
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Justin Mayet
Justin Mayet Jan 13, 2018 11:48AM ET
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So their answer is to respond by acting like animals!?
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Justin Mayet
Justin Mayet Jan 13, 2018 11:48AM ET
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Additionally I don’t believe H&M intended the advertisement to be racist. They are in the business of selling clothes, not making customers mad. So your destroying a business that employs locals and selling affordable clothing for really no reason. If your offended by the advertising then simply protest it peacefully.
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Chris Jones
Chris Jones Jan 13, 2018 11:48AM ET
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Animals ? Really ?
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