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Protesters Demand Zuma Quit

Protesters called on South African President Jacob Zuma to quit in Cape Town on April 7.Protesters called on South African President Jacob Zuma to quit in Cape Town on April 7.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in several cities to demand that South African President Jacob Zuma resign after he fired the finance minister and reshuffled the Cabinet.

Marchers chanting “Zuma must go” walked to the Union Buildings, the official seat of government, while thousands of people faced riot police outside the chained gates of parliament in Cape Town, and rallied in Durban and Port Elizabeth, Bloomberg reported.

In Johannesburg, eNCA television showed footage of police firing stun grenades near the home of the Gupta family who are friends of Zuma and in business with his son.

Demonstrators there carried signs, including one that said “puppet masters must go”. Last year, the nation’s graft ombudsman implied that Zuma allowed the Guptas to influence Cabinet appointments and the issuing of state contracts. Zuma and the Guptas deny the allegations.

Zuma’s decision to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and make 19 other changes to his administration on March 31 drew widespread criticism, prompted S&P Global Ratings to downgrade the nation’s credit rating to junk and weakened the rand.

The protests were called by Save South Africa, which has been campaigning for better government and are backed by the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, and civil-rights groups.

A magistrates court on Thursday overturned a police ban on a planned “people’s march” to government headquarters in Pretoria, the capital. The presidency said it did not oppose the demonstrations.

Zuma, 74, will face a no-confidence motion in parliament on April 18 sponsored by opposition parties. The ruling African National Congress said its members won’t vote against the president, whose decision to change the Cabinet was criticized by three senior members of the party, including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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