Obama protesters rally near hospital treating Mandela

June 28, 2013 18:24

PRETORIA - Hundreds of people in the South African capital Pretoria demonstrated on Friday against a visit by US President Barack Obama, marching near a hospital where anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela lay critically ill.

Flying on board Air Force One from Senegal, Obama paid tribute to Mandela who as South Africa's first black president led the nation out of apartheid, but said he was not seeking a "photo op" with the ailing statesman.Mandela, 94, has been in the Pretoria heart clinic with a lung infection for nearly three weeks, his fourth spell in hospital in six months.

Nearly 1,000 trade unionists, Muslim activists and South African Communist Party members marched through the capital to the US Embassy where they burned a US flag in protest, calling Obama's foreign policy "arrogant and oppressive".

Muslim activists held prayers in a car park outside the embassy. Leader Imam Sayeed Mohammed told the group: "We hope that Mandela feels better and that Obama can learn from him."

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