ANC supporters turned away

2012-01-08 14:39

Bloemfontein - As thousands celebrated the African National Congress' 100th birthday in the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, many were spitting fire outside as they were refused entry into the venue on Sunday.

Thousands of ANC members were sent away at the stadium and referred to overflow areas next door with officials having a hard time controlling them.

A majority had travelled from other provinces and had either been bussed in or came by train.

"We didn't come all this way to be standing outside the stadium or overflow areas," said an angry woman who clutched the gate with both her hands.

Another woman who did not want to be named said she had walked out of the stadium to get her food.

She claimed she left her daughter inside the stadium.

Officials have started to show people to the athletic and cricket stadiums next door, as well as a stage area at the Kings Park garden at Loch Logan.

Impossible to move

Police divers in kayaks were patrolling the water edge to help anybody that might fall into the water.

At some of the stadium's entrances it was impossible to move as people tried to enter and some tried to move out.

Earlier, a stadium seat area filled with mainly ANC Women’s League members had to be vacated as they were wrongly directed to the seats reserved for international guests.

The crowd was not happy with the move but the group was moved by officials.

The outside crowd moved from gate to gate, chanting demands to be let in as security officials formed a human-chain in a bid to keep out the large crowd trying to push their way through the gate.

A pile of luggage bags lay strewn at a corner near one of the entrances, among them blankets.

One of the officials at the gate said they could no longer let anyone in because the stadium was full.

The stadium can only handle a capacity of 48 000 people. The invited guests were expected from about 14:00 on Sunday at the stadium.

The ANC said about 100 000 people would attend the centenary celebrations and would gather in a four block radius in Bloemfontein’s Loch Logan area.

A huge police presence was visible with tight security at the stadium.

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