Zuma condemns climate talks chaos
Durban - President Jacob Zuma has condemned violent behaviour during a climate change meeting at the Durban City Hall on Thursday.
"It was uncalled for", he said.
The meeting to be addressed by Zuma took an unruly turn when some of those attending waved posters that read: "Zuma stand with the poor, not the USA."
Another group who felt this was unfair to the president, grabbed the demonstrators and pushed them out of the hall.
One of them, Rehad Desai, was smacked and kicked after falling down.
The aim of the meeting was for Zuma give feedback on a consultation session with civil society organisations on the sidelines of Cop17 climate change talks currently taking place in Durban.
Some of those who carried posters were taken away by the police.
Zuma said it was important for people to tolerate each other’s views.
"What we saw today happens where there is no democracy. It is important that if you have a different view, you raise it with respect."
Desai told reporters after the meeting he was disappointed that his 'comrades' had attacked him.
"What happened to us today is very bad. It means that we can’t raise placards as a way of voicing out our views. I was kicked in the face."
Desai said he was an independent film producer.
Bobby Peek, of Groundwork, an environmental organisation, blamed the police for the chaos.
"The comrades came here with positive messages and the problem started when the police started pulling them down," he said.
"They were here to support Zuma. These are people from different civic organisations with positive messages for Zuma."