Tense atmosphere at #ZumaMustFall Durban protest

2016-02-11 18:42

Durban - There was an apparent racial stand-off on the steps of the Durban City Hall on Thursday evening when a small group of #ZumaMustFall protesters were met with resistance by an angry crowd that called on them to leave.

A group of about 40 protesting against President Jacob Zuma had to be constrained behind yellow police tape after a group of passersby became increasingly angry over the groups calls for Zuma to be removed as president.

The protest preceded the president's State of the Nation Address in Parliament in Cape Town, with similar protests in Cape Town, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth.

One #ZumaMustFall protester told the crowd through a loud speaker that giving Zuma a third term in office would leave their children poorer.

"Our children will be poor. Do not let them steal the money, our children will have to pay back the money, your children will have to pay back the money.

"Rather Jacob Zuma pays back the money, he must pay back the money, not our children," he said as the growing crowd of passers-by kept booing him and telling the protesters "hamba!(Go!)" and "Go back home!"

By now the crowd of passers-by had grown to more than 100, with one woman telling the #ZumaMustFall protesters that she had voted for Zuma and that she would vote for him again.

"We are the happy people because we are ruling," said one man.

Another angry Zuma supporter told the small group that their calls for Zuma to fall would just cause them to vote for Zuma again, to spite them.

"You are promoting Zuma. We will give him a third term," they taunted.

The tense atmosphere soon escalated, with police increasing their presence. The angry crowd sang "umshini' wam" making gun signs and others chanting "Zuma must rise" to the protesters.

Most of them were just commuters heading home. It did not appear as though they had planned to get involved in the event as they still had work bags and lunchboxes in hand.

However, the crowd increasingly grew angrier at the protesters and began chanting "Zuma! Zuma!" after the #ZumaMustFall group called for him to be impeached.

The angry crowd then started demanding that the #ZumaMustFall crowd leave and began chanting "Give back our land. Go back to Europe."

About an hour after #ZumaMustFall protest had begun, the small group left, saying they did not want to incite any violence. 

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