Several stores belonging to Swedish clothing company H&M have been attacked and trashed by members of Economic Freedom Fighters. They were protesting an advert by the firm widely seen as racist.
Shots were fired at the East Rand H&M store after a group of EFF protesters dressed in their red regalia forced their way into Sandton, Menlyn Park and East Rand H&M retailer stores. According to South Africa's daily news24, police engaged the protesters who did not want to be caught on camera.
The Menlyn store was shut after it was completely trashed by the angry protesters. H&M caused an outcry after an advert featuring a young black model wearing a jumper with the words: "Coolest monkey in the jungle," went viral on social media. Many people accused the international chain store of racism.
South Africa's Eyewitness News reported that mannequins and clothes were strewn all over the floor in the malls where the protests took place. Other nationwide demonstrations also took place in Mall of the South, Mall of Africa, Clearwater and East Rand Mall. IOL reported that Gateway store was also closed as a result of the protests.
Following Saturday's vandalism, EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu issued a stern warning via Twitter.
Apology not enough?
H&M apologized this week for the advert and assured its customers that the jumper will be removed from the stores completely. It also promised to open an investigation and vowed that such an incident will never happen again.
The firm's spokesperson, Amelia-May Woudstra, said the company was sorry for the ad, "We sincerely apologize for offending customers with an image of a printed hooded top that was published on selected global online channels."
H&M, the world's second-largest clothing group lost the collaboration with Canadian pop star, The Weeknd, after he saw the advertisement. He had previously promoted two H&M collections.