H&M stores in South Africa ransacked over 'racist' hoodie advert

H&M stores across South Africa were shuttered Saturday. Local media reported that destructive protesters had swarmed several locations

Dressed in the party's signature red, members of the Julius Malema-led Economic Freedom Fighters protested an H&M advertisement featuring a black boy wearing a hoodie with the words, "coolest monkey in the jungle".

Other shops at the mall were closed to prevent further vandalism.

H&M stores in South Africa were trashed by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) protesters on Saturday over a allegedly racist sweater ad.

"We're not going to leave".

"We are here to tell them".

EFF protestors also targeted H&M stores in Cape Town, including the store in Canal Walk. The controversy prompted Canadian hip-hop artist The Weeknd, who previously partnered with H&M and modeled for the company in 2017, to end his relationship with the brand.

However, shortly after H&M's HR manager Randall April read out the formal apology relating to the advert to the protestors, which was issued by H&M global on January 9, Joseph was quick to voice his disappointment.

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"We apologise if we have upset anyone as this wasn't our intention".

"The time of apologies for racism are over", he said.

Calm has since been restored at the Menlyn shopping centre following the chaotic protest earlier today, which resulted in police cordoning off the entire level on which the shop was located.

H&M has yet to issue a statement over the chaos, but social media is engulfed with both support and condemnation for the violence, with many in South Africa echoing Shivambu's praise for the "radical action".

"The safety and security of our customers, staff, and tenants is of utmost importance and the affected area has been secured by the South African Police Service (SAPS)". "Sandton City remains open for trade as normal", they tweeted.

H&M South Africa did not respond to a request for comment, but its local website carried an apology for the advertisement, Reuters reports.

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