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Police remove EFF protesters from legislature

Hundreds of supporters have been taken out of the building following a violent protest there.

EFF members push their way past policemen into the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in Johannesburg during a protest march on 22 July 2014. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Police have managed to remove hundreds of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters from the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in the Johannesburg CBD this evening after a dramatic stand-off which lasted for several hours.

The group was protesting after a group of its members in the legislature were ordered to leave the house earlier this month due to what they were wearing.

On 1 July, house speaker Ntombi Mekgwe ordered police to remove eight people wearing red overalls bearing the phrase 'asijiki' - meaning 'we are not turning back' - as the slogan allegedly constituted inappropriate attire.

An altercation broke out between those members and the police and two EFF members were injured during the scuffle.

Today, hundreds of people donning the party's trademark red berets and overalls gathered outside the legislature, with several of them managing to force their way into the building and refusing to leave.

Police resorted to firing rubber bullets, teargas and stun grenades and some supporters were physically removed from the building.

Several supporters used a fire extinguisher against the police, spraying them in an effort to push them back.

At one point, the protesters stood their ground, approaching the armed officers and daring them to shoot, with some comparing the situation to the Marikana shooting in 2012.

The group was eventually taken out of the building but damaged property on the way out including a glass door which supporters broke with their bare hands.

Some EFF supporters are now on the rampage in the CBD, setting bins on fire and stealing from street vendors.

At least one person has reportedly been injured in the violence.