JOHANNESBURG — South African police fired stun grenades at dozens of clashing supporters of the ruling African National Congress and an opposition party ahead of the much-awaited state-of-the-nation address by the president.
Earlier, members of the Ses'Khona People's Rights Movement were pushed back by police when they tried to march to the parliament buildings in the coastal city of Cape Town, South African media reported. The group told reporters they were demonstrating over a number of issues, including racism.
A few kilometers away, politicians and dignitaries arrived at parliament amid tight security. Undeterred by the chaos in the city streets, they walked a red carpet to the doors of parliament, many dressed in designer gowns and suits.
President Jacob Zuma could face disruption inside the parliament building during his speech later, which will be shown live on television. Some opposition lawmakers have threatened to interrupt proceedings because of a scandal over millions of dollars in state spending on the president's private home.
Zuma offered to pay back some money in a concession to critics, who accuse him of violating the constitution.
The president is also under pressure to explain why he fired Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December, a move that unsettled investors and further weakened the national currency.
South Africa is struggling with slow economic growth.