Cape Town, February 9 – The police’s public order policing members had their hands full on Thursday afternoon as they battled to push back a crowd of protesting students ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation (SONA) address.

The group of young people, mainly students in school uniforms, waved placards and chanted slogans in support of Zuma and insulting opposition party leaders, including Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters and Helen Zille of the Democratic Alliance.

“Allow us to come inside and deal with Malema,” some of the protesters shouted as police officers in riot gear pushed them back.

Some of the students threw litter at the police officers who were holding shields and wearing helmets.

Before 6pm, the students had been pushed back, forcefully, to the intersection of Darling and Corporation Street in the Cape Town CBD.

Many of the students wore Congress of South African Students (Cosas)-branded t-shirts, chanting struggle songs.

Cosas leader, Buntu Joseph, 22, from a private collage said that they had come to give support and listen to what the president had to say and were also hoping that he would address the issue of releasing funds for poor students at university.

“We had a regional meeting with the president and he promised that he(Zuma) will address the issue of free education to the poor,” Joseph told the African News Agency (ANA).

– African News Agency (ANA)

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