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Thousands Of South Africans March Against Wave Of Xenophobic Attacks

04/16/2015 06:00 pm ET | Updated Apr 21, 2015

Around 5,000 South Africans marched in the city of Durban on Thursday to protest a recent wave of brutal attacks on foreigners.

Protesters chanted "Down with xenophobia" and "A United Africa" at the rally in the coastal city. "It's just a mammoth show of support for all those foreigners who have fallen victim to the past two weeks of xenophobic violence," one marcher told the BBC.

At least five people have been killed and 74 people arrested since the violence broke out in late March, South African police said. The unrest sent over 2,000 people fleeing to refugee camps, with others planning to leave the country, according to The Associated Press.

South Africa is home to over 300,000 asylum seekers, according to an estimate by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Tensions have repeatedly flared as foreigners are blamed for South Africa's high-unemployment rate, which is believed to currently top 25 percent.

As the marchers gathered on Thursday, police dispersed hundreds of anti-foreigner protesters in the South African city of Johannesburg, while dozens of foreigners sought refuge in a police station.

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