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Obama go home, 100s of South Africans say

Press TV

Hundreds of South African protesters chanting “Go back, Obama” have clashed with the police in Johannesburg.

On Saturday, the police fired tear gas and stun grenades at the demonstrators gathered outside of the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg, where US President Barack Obama held a town hall meeting with students.

The demonstrators shouted slogans denouncing Obama’s record on surveillance and foreign policy.

The protesters voiced their disapproval of the US president’s use of CIA-run assassination drone strikes, the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and the US economic blockade of Cuba.

Some protesters held posters that depicted Obama as Adolf Hitler and demanded that the US lift the trade embargo on Cuba.

The Muslim Lawyers Association of South Africa, leftist national organizations, student groups, trade unions, and the South African Communist Party formed the “NO-Bama Coalition” to protest against Obama’s trip to South Africa.

“Our rejection is based on the USA’s arrogant, selfish and oppressive foreign policies, treatment of workers, and international trade relations that are rooted in warmongering, neoliberal super-exploitation, colonial racism, and the disregard and destruction of the environment, thus making the realization of a just and peaceful world impossible,” the “NO-Bama Coalition” said in a statement issued on Saturday.

The US president arrived in South Africa on Friday evening for a visit to pay homage to his “personal hero”, Nelson Mandela, who is critically ill in the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, said on Friday that the 94-year-old had made “a great improvement” in recent days, but was “still unwell,” adding that she felt it would not be right for Obama to visit Mandela while he was in critical condition.

During his weekend trip, Obama is also scheduled to visit Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years of the 27 and a half years he spent in prisons during the apartheid era.

On June 8, Mandela was taken to hospital to be treated for a recurring lung infection.

On June 25, South African President Jacob Zuma issued a statement, saying that doctors are doing their best to ensure Mandela’s recovery and comfort.

The Nobel Peace laureate, who led the country to democracy in 1994, left office in 1999 after serving one term as president.

Seen as South Africa’s moral compass, the highly revered leader announced his retirement from public life in 2004, but continued to make a few public appearances.


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