Pretoria, South Africa • Several hundred mourners eager to pay their last respects to Nelson Mandela broke through police barriers and stormed up toward the Union Buildings shortly before the former South African President’s body was moved away.
An AP reporter in Pretoria witnessed Friday how the crowd stormed up the hill toward Mandela’s casket and saw police chase people several hundred meters (yards) to stop them.
The reporter says the people were joyous as they raced toward the buildings. No violence erupted and police peacefully brought them back in line.
The government said earlier about 100,000 mourners turned out Friday, the third and final day of the lying in state but half of them had to be turned away before the casket was returned to 1 Military Hospital.