Gallery marchers gather

By Drum Digital
29 May 2012

Busloads of protesters were arriving at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg on Tuesday ahead of a march on the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank, police said.

The growing crowd was clad in ANC colours and sang and danced to music blaring from speakers on the back of a bakkie.

Police and metro police officers would keep watch over the event, metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

The march is a protest against Brett Murray's "The Spear", which, until it was defaced last Tuesday, was on display at the Goodman Gallery. It showed President Jacob Zuma with genitals hanging out of his trousers.

About 15,000 people were expected to walk along Jan Smuts Avenue to Rosebank. Jan Smuts Avenue, between the Zoo and Bolton Road in Rosebank, would be closed until about midday, Minnaar said.

"Our officers are on duty and already out there ahead of the march," he said.

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement earlier: "This protest will be used to advance the need for unity as a nation and to register a need for common and acceptable values.

"At the end of the march, the alliance will make important announcements following extensive interaction with all parties involved," he said.

On Monday Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said the gallery regretted the hurt caused by the painting's display.

"I had a meeting with the owner of the Goodman Gallery, Lisa Essers, who said she regrets the pain that the display of 'The Spear' had caused to Zuma, his family as well as to the nation," Mashatile said.

"She had no intention of hurting or upsetting anyone, but understood that it did hurt people and our nation. The piece was removed from the gallery."

Image: Eyewitness News via Twitter

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