Supporters of South Africa’s ruling party have protested over a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma’s genitals.
One of the leaders from the African National Congress said the gallery would pull the painting from its website.
“The Goodman Gallery has agreed to remove the painting from the website,” ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told protesters.
Decked out in the black, green and gold of the ANC, they marched about two kilometres along one of the city’s busiest roads to the gallery in the upmarket neighbourhood of Parkwood, where riot police formed a barrier between them and the gallery.
The row erupted when the gallery put up a collection of works by satirical artist Brett Murray taking a harsh look at the ANC.
But the piece that sparked the most outrage was the painting of Zuma mimicking a pose by Vladimir Lenin in a Soviet-era propaganda poster — but with his penis exposed.
Critics branded it racist and a violation of Zuma’s right to dignity, arguing it is deeply offensive in African culture to expose an elder’s genitals.
The ANC claimed victory after two vandals last Tuesday smeared the work with red and black paint, prompting the gallery to pull it from its walls.
Mantashe hailed one of the vandals — who was on stage with him Tuesday dressed in a black hoodie — as a hero who “covered” Zuma’s shame.
The gallery, which was closed last week, had on Tuesday pulled down all materials from the exhibition.
“Goodman Gallery respect your right to protest,” read a sign posted on the gallery’s shop windows in big capital letters.
Protesters sported tee shirts with messages such as “President has the right to human dignity and privacy” and “We say no to abuse of artistic expression”.
Two women held a sign that read: “Whites hate blacks” and “Whites are rude”.
Officials were said to be expecting at least 15,000 people to show up for the protest, but only about 1,000 turned up, most of them bussed in from surrounding provinces.