News / Africa

    S. African Police Clash With ANC Supporters at Opposition March

    A police officer tries to control ANC supporters as they attempt to confront members of the opposition Democratic Alliance party marching in central Johannesburg, Feb. 12, 2014.
    A police officer tries to control ANC supporters as they attempt to confront members of the opposition Democratic Alliance party marching in central Johannesburg, Feb. 12, 2014.
    Reuters
    South African police fired rubber bullets on Wednesday at stone throwing supporters of the ruling ANC who tried to confront members of the opposition Democratic Alliance party as they marched in central Johannesburg.

    The incident is a sign of rising tensions in South Africa before general elections on May 7, which are seen as the biggest political test yet for President Jacob Zuma and his African National Congress (ANC), which has been in power for 20 years since the end of white apartheid rule.

    Police, between the lines of rival supporters, opened fire briefly at ANC members clad in the party's yellow T-shirts.

    A police spokesman said petrol bombs were also thrown at officers who responded with stun grenades as well as rubber bullets.

    Four people - wearing t-shirts bearing the ANC logo - were subsequently arrested for public violence and illegally carrying dangerous weapons during the march, police said.

    Thousands of supporters from both parties were brought in by bus; the DA to march in what it said was a protest about high rates of unemployment in Africa's largest economy and the ANC to defend its headquarters in Johannesburg.

    After the brief clash with police the marchers turned around and the protest ended, with DA members saying they had decided to call things off to prevent further violence.

    Commentators have viewed the march by the DA, the country's biggest opposition party, as an action or provocation deliberately designed to expose what the opposition says is the ANC's intolerant nature.

    “Will every voter now get the point about what an undemocratic and violent and intolerant organization the ANC is,” DA leader Helen Zille told local TV news channel eNCA.

    “We knew we were not getting to our end destination from the start, because the ANC came with missiles, petrol bombs, bricks and stones. I was amazed that the police allowed them to do that,” she said.

    Black votes

    The DA is trying to shake its image as a party devoted to the interests and privileges of the white minority and almost all of the marchers clad in its blue shirts on Wednesday were black, drawing scorn from ANC supporters.

    ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu condemned the DA march.

    “It cannot be a wise step for any party to want to march to another party office, very ill informed, very dangerous, very risky, because we share nothing in common with the DA, how can you march ...  to the revolutionary house,” he said.

    Sipho Mkhwanazi, a 40-year-old ANC supporter, was equally ciritical of the DA.

    “Those poor black people who were marching today possibly got paid to come here and be the face of the DA.”

    The DA's attempts to broaden its demographic appeal have suffered some recent setbacks.

    Prominent black anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele last week backtracked on a brief pledge to run for president for the DA, frustrating the party's push to win more black votes in the election.

    The ANC is expected to easily extended its two-decade rule but with a reduced majority as millions of black South Africans remain mired in poverty and frustrated with the slow pace of change and economic transformation.

    Still, South Africa remains a very different place, a point highlighted by the stark contrast between Wednesday's march and one from 20 years ago, just ahead of the elections that brought Nelson Mandela to power as the country's first black president.

    In that incident, thousands of members of the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party marched on the ANC's Johannesburg headquarters and security guards opened fire with live ammunition, killing 19 people.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora