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Fisticuffs as May Day rally in Bloemfontein collapses, Zuma leaves

President Jacob Zuma was scheduled to speak‚ but the crowd did not allow Cosatu leadership to continue with the programme

01 May 2017 – 14:31 Kyle Cowan
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: NTSWE MOKOENA

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: NTSWE MOKOENA

Continuous chanting‚ singing and heckling from a crowd of union members in Bloemfontein has led to the main Worker’s Day celebration rally collapsing.

President Jacob Zuma was scheduled to speak‚ but the crowd did not allow Cosatu leadership to continue with the programme.

A short while ago‚ SACP Secretary General Blade Nzimande told TimesLIVE the decision to end the event without a single speech being heard was made by the Cosatu central executive committee‚ and Nzimande and Zuma concurred.

A scuffle broke out between the anti-and pro-Zuma groups shortly after the president arrived‚ and some punches were thrown.

The anti-Zuma faction chanted slogans such as “Zuma must fall” and “We want Blade” while the pro faction‚ many clad in red t-shirts emblazoned with ‘100% Zuma’ on the back‚ chanted “Zuma!”

As the crowd was chanting‚ Zuma sat with his hands folded and at times spoke to Nzimande‚ who was seated to his left.

A strong police presence is still in attendance‚ armed with riot shields and pistols.

There were also chants of “Ace must fall”‚ referring to Free State Premier Ace Magashule.

This is a developing story.

TMG Digital