News24

Prayer time at anti-Obama protest

2013-06-28 17:08

Pretoria - A group of Muslim protesters prayed when they arrived at the US embassy in Pretoria on Friday.

The group moved away from the other protesters to a place in front of the embassy, where small blankets and carpets were spread next to a public address system.

A man addressed the kneeling group.

"As far as Obama is concerned, he doesn't represent any democracy. We have seen an acceleration in the killing of people. Look at Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries," he said.

The rest of the protesters, wearing mainly Young Communist League of SA (YCLSA) regalia, watched the prayer session.

Numerous police officers stood at the embassy's closed entrance. More than 20 police vehicles, including a Nyala, were parked outside.

The activists, from different groups, gathered at the Caledonian Stadium, and walked the few kilometres to the US mission.

The group marched along Francis Baard Street, singing and chanting anti-Obama slogans.

One activist, on a truck mounted with a public address system, led the songs and slogans.

He shouted: "Free Palestine. Free Swaziland. Free Zimbabwe. Down Obama, down."

Some of the protesters' placards read: "Obama, stop supporting dictators in Africa. No oil here, move on"; "100 years of genocide in Iraq. War in 100 countries. Rogue State." A young boy's poster read: "No you can't spy on me".

Many protesters wore orange overalls and black hoods. Some wore camouflage outfits and red berets.

YCLSA's national secretary Buti Manamela and other officials led the protesters.

A large banner bore a picture of Obama's face and the words: "Meet the world's top assassin". The banner also showed a picture of Obama behind prison bars.

Many local and international journalists, who were camped outside the nearby Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, where former president Nelson Mandela is being treated, rushed to the stadium.

As people in the group passed close to the hospital, they shouted messages of support for the ailing anti-apartheid icon.