A total of 45 people were arrested for public violence during a protest in Barberton, Mpumalanga on Friday, police said.

Police used teargas when residents looted shops belonging to foreign nationals, Sergeant Gerald Sedibe said.

He said roads were barricaded with stones and burning tires.

Protesters were demanding that the proposed Mpumalanga University, rumoured to be constructed in White River, be built in Barberton.

They believed this would alleviate unemployment in the area.

Those arrested would appear in Barberton Magistrate's court soon. – Sapa