April 7 (UPI) -- Demonstrations in several South African cities on Friday called for the removal of President Jacob Zuma.
Led by the group Save South Africa and endorsed by the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, tens of thousands of people in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban marched to protest the removal last week of Pravin Gordham, the finance minister, and the subsequent downgrade of the country's credit rating to junk status.
The president's supporters also turned out in South African streets on Friday. Zuma, 74, survived demands this week from parties allied with his African National Congress for him to resign.
In Johannesburg, police fired stun grenades at demonstrators near the home of the Gupta family, a powerful South African business family. A government ombudsman's report last year suggested that Zuma allowed the Gupta family to influence his Cabinet appointments, as well as the issuance of government contracts. Zuma's administration has survived several corruption scandals since he took office in 2009.
His decision to fire Gordham on March 31, and reshuffle other Cabinet positions, weakened the rand, South Africa's currency, to its lowest level in weeks, and led S&P Global Ratings to downgrade the country's credit rating.
Police fired tear gas at protesters in Johannesburg, and large crowds assembled at Pretoria's Church Square. In Durban, large banners reading "Jacob Zuma must step down" were placed on buildings and demonstrators marched with signs reading "Downgrade Zuma, not South Africa."
In most cases, marchers assembled peacefully. There were no reports of arrests or injuries.