- POSTED: 14 Dec 2013 00:20
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Hundreds of South Africans pushed their way past a police cordon in a bid to see Nelson Mandela's body Friday, in the final moments of his lying in state.
PRETORIA: Hundreds of South Africans pushed their way past a police cordon in a bid to see Nelson Mandela's body Friday, in the final moments of his lying in state.
The group bustled past officers after they, along with tens of thousands of other mourners, were told they would not get to pay their last respects to their country's first black president.
They ran toward the amphitheatre at Union Buildings -- the seat of government -- where Mandela has been lying in state since Wednesday.
Friday was the last opportunity to view the body, before it is transported to his boyhood village of Qunu for burial on Sunday.
Because of the sheer volume of mourners, many of those who queued for hours and in some cases days were left disappointed.
Barely two hours after the public was allowed in to view the open-top casket Friday morning, the government said it would be unable to accommodate the huge numbers still waiting and appealed for people to stay away.
Police officers gave up trying to restrain one group, ordering them in vain to get in line.
"Police said we should make a queue, but they didn't. They then started to push," said 27-year-old Gilbert Setshedi, who queued from 7:00am.