South Africa removes migrants squatting in Cape Town

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A woman sorts out her belongings, outside the Central Methodist Mission Church in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, March 1, 2020 as city officials and police move in to evict them. Hundreds of migrants have been removed from central Cape Town by South African authorities following a months-long stand-off.
The migrants removed on Sunday had demanded to be relocated to other countries claiming they had been threatened by xenophobic violence last year. (AP Photo)

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Hundreds of foreign migrants have been removed from central Cape Town by South African authorities following a months-long stand-off.

The migrants, who were moved in an operation Sunday, had demanded to be relocated to other countries, claiming they had been threatened by xenophobic violence last year. But the group lost their court bid to compel the government to fly them to what they said would be safer countries, including the U.S. and Canada.

The foreigners had camped outside the Central Methodist Church at Cape Town’s Green Market Square. South African authorities said they will verify their identities and will process those seeking asylum.

The Nigerian government last year evacuated about 600 of its citizens from South Africa following violent demonstrations against foreigners.

The removal of the foreigners was largely a calm operation, with the authorities getting little resistance from the migrants, except for some heckling and chanting.

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