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Protesters rally against Obama’s South Africa visit near hospital where critically ill Nelson Mandela is receiving treatment

A protester kicks a banner with the face of  U.S. President Barack Obama as they protest against his visit, in Pretoria, June 28, 2013. Obama heads to South Africa on Friday hoping to see ailing icon Nelson Mandela, after wrapping up a visit to Senegal that focused on improving food security and promoting democratic institutions. Obama is in the middle of a three-country tour of Africa that the White House hopes will compensate for what some view as years of neglect by the administration of America's first black president. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: POLITICS) CIVIL UNREST)New York Daily News

South Africans protesting a visit to their country by U.S. President Barack Obama rallied on Friday a few blocks from well-wishers at a hospital in Pretoria where anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela is critically ill.

Obama, on a three-nation tour of Africa, was due to arrive in South Africa on Friday with White House officials saying they will defer to Mandela’s family on whether the first African-American president of the United States will visit South Africa’s first black president.  

Mandela, 94, is fighting a lung infection that has left him in a critical condition and in hospital for nearly three weeks.

His fourth hospitalization in six months has focused attention in South Africa and globally on the faltering health of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who is admired as a symbol of resistance against injustice and of racial reconciliation.

Protesters burn the U.S. flag outside the U.S. embassy in Pretoria. 

STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Protesters burn the U.S. flag outside the U.S. embassy in Pretoria.

President Jacob Zuma has said Mandela’s condition improved over Wednesday night but he remained critical.

About 200 trade unionists, student activists and South African Communist Party members gathered in the capital Pretoria to protest Obama’s visit this weekend, calling his foreign policy “arrogant, selfish and oppressive”.

“We had expectations of America’s first black president. Knowing Africa’s history, we expected more,” said Khomotso Makola, a 19-year-old law student.

“He has come as a disappointment, I think Mandela too would be disappointed and feel let down,” Makola said.

South African critics of the Obama administration have focused on U.S. drone strikes overseas, as well as  the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay. 

SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS

South African critics of the Obama administration have focused on U.S. drone strikes overseas, as well as  the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

South African critics of Obama have focused in particular on his support for U.S. drone strikes overseas, which they say have killed hundreds of innocent civilians, and his failure to deliver on a pledge to close the U.S. military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba housing terrorism suspects.

“TWO GREAT MEN”

A few blocks away at the Pretoria heart hospital where Mandela is being cared for, well-wishers paying tribute to the legendary retired statesman had words of praise for Obama, who met Mandela in 2005 when he was still a U.S. senator.

Nigerian painter Sanusi Olatunji, 31, had brought portraits of both Mandela and Obama to the wall of the hospital, where flowers, tribute notes and gifts for Madiba, as Mandela is affectionately known, have been piling up.

Nelson Mandela remains hospitalized in critical condition with a lung infection. 

STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Nelson Mandela remains hospitalized in critical condition with a lung infection.

“These are the two great men of my lifetime,” he said.

“To me, Mandela is a prophet who brought peace and opportunity. He made it possible for a black man like me to live in a country that was only for whites.”

During his weekend trip to Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, Obama is scheduled to visit Robben Island, the former penal colony where Mandela passed 18 years of the 27 years he spent in apartheid prisons.

Obama and first lady Michelle wave from Air Force One as they depart Dakar, Senegal. 

JASON REED/REUTERS

Obama and first lady Michelle wave from Air Force One as they depart Dakar, Senegal.

Starting off his Africa trip in Senegal on Wednesday, Obama praised Mandela as “a personal hero”.

“If and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we’ll all know is that his legacy is one that will linger on throughout the ages,” he told reporters in Dakar.

Obama, who has been in office since 2009, is making his first substantial visit to Africa following a short trip to Ghana at the beginning of his first term.

South Africans held prayer meetings and vigils outside the Pretoria hospital and at Mandela’s former Soweto home through Thursday night.

But as his health has deteriorated this year, there is a growing realization among South Africa’s 53 million people that the man who forged their multi-racial “Rainbow Nation” from the ashes of apartheid will not be with them forever.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/protesters-rally-obama-visit-mandela-hospital-article-1.1384952#ixzz2XYaCCJbB

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4 Responses to Protesters rally against Obama’s South Africa visit near hospital where critically ill Nelson Mandela is receiving treatment

  1. Bullwinkle says:

    The rest of the world loves Barry the Rat as much as we do.

    • diggerdan says:

      LOL, yes, we all get it so why doesn`t “barry the rat ” get it like every one else. Barry must be really out of touch or just plain stupidly in denial.

  2. Paula Walker says:

    Well, if everyone in Africa loves him this much, maybe that’s why he had to take so much “protection” with him-bullet proof glass, planes flying over head at all times, etc. Maybe he knew something we didn’t-like the rest of the world sees thru his baloney better than the American sheeple do.

  3. Greg Bacon says:

    USA = Under Satanic Administration

    That’s a keeper!

    While there Barry, why not drop by and see your buds in Syria, maybe they have a spare human heart they can spare.

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