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H&M Closes Stores in South Africa Amid Protests Over ‘Monkey’ Shirt

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An H&M retailer in Johannesburg on Saturday after a protest via contributors of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

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Wikus De Wet/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Swedish clothes corporate H&M quickly closed a number of shops in South Africa on Saturday after protests erupted over a picture in its on-line retailer that critics stated used to be racist.

The symbol confirmed a black kid modeling a hooded sweatshirt that stated “coolest monkey in the jungle.” Two different sweatshirts that had been additionally jungle-themed however didn’t point out monkeys had been modeled via white youngsters.

The symbol touched off an uproar on social media this week, and on Saturday demonstrators representing South Africa’s second-largest opposition celebration, Economic Freedom Fighters, collected at H&M places around the nation.

Videos and footage of the gatherings confirmed other people demonstrating out of doors or marching thru a shop. Others confirmed other people toppling mannequins, overturning racks and scattering garments.

“Out of concern for the safety of our employees and customers we have temporarily closed all stores in the area,” H&M stated in an emailed remark on Saturday.

“None of our staff or customers have been injured,” the remark stated. “We continue to monitor the situation closely and will open the stores as soon as the situation is safe again. We strongly believe that racism and bias in any shape or form, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable. We stress that our wonderful store staff had nothing to do with our poorly judged product and image.”

Demonstrations had been reported at buying groceries facilities in Cape Town and Pretoria, and at a number of spaces in and round Johannesburg, together with Sandton, Midrand and Boksburg. On social media, some supported the protesters whilst others argued that the destruction used to be counterproductive.

Julius Malema, the celebration’s charismatic but controversial leader, who used to be as soon as a member of the governing African National Congress, said in a speech on Saturday, “We make no apology about what the fighters did today against that store called H&M” and stated focused on the shops used to be “just the beginning.”

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