JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- A protest planned in South Africa's capital ended in chaos Wednesday when members of rival parties clashed with each other and police, witnesses said.
South Africa's Democratic Alliance party said it planned to march to the headquarters of the ruling African National Congress party to highlight high unemployment in the country. ANC members were angered about the plan and flooded a square near the party's headquarters for a protest of their own.
Police did not grant the ANC permission for their protest because the DA members had already planned their own. About 40 minutes into the DA's march the groups confronted each other, eNCA reported.
"It cannot be a wise step for any party to want to march to another party office. Very ill informed, very dangerous, very risky," the ANC's Jackson Mthembu said.
DA leaders said they emphasized non-violence to protesters and blamed the ANC for antagonizing.
"Our intention always has been that we want this march to be peaceful," DA spokesperson Mmusi Maimane said. "We've provided security, we've provided for every different aspect. We've spoken to our members, in fact, I'll be re-emphasising this fact that this is a peaceful march. The jobs message must not be lost."
Police tried to keep the two groups separate but ANC members began hurling objects at officers, the report said. Gunshots were reportedly heard though it was unclear if anyone was killed or injured in the incident.
Eventually the DA march disbanded under police order, eNCA said.