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PHOTOS: Hundreds break through police barriers to see Mandela

Published: Friday December 13, 2013 | 4:43 pm Comments 0
Police officers try to control the crowd at the Union Buildings after the police announced they would reopen the entrance so they could pay their respects to Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, South Africa today.  AP
Police officers try to control the crowd at the Union Buildings after the police announced they would reopen the entrance so they could pay their respects to Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, South Africa today. AP
Police officers try to control the crowd after they announced they would reopen the entrance to the Union Buildings to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, South Africa today.  AP
Police officers try to control the crowd after they announced they would reopen the entrance to the Union Buildings to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, South Africa today. AP
A crowd run uphill to the Union Buildings after the police announced they would reopen the entrance so they could pay their respects to Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, South Africa today.  AP
A crowd run uphill to the Union Buildings after the police announced they would reopen the entrance so they could pay their respects to Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, South Africa today. AP
A crowd run uphill to the Union Buildings after the police announced they would reopen the entrance so they could pay their respects to Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, South Africa today.  AP
A crowd run uphill to the Union Buildings after the police announced they would reopen the entrance so they could pay their respects to Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, South Africa today. AP
A young woman raises her fist as she queues with others wanting to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela in downtown Pretoria, South Africa today.  AP
A young woman raises her fist as she queues with others wanting to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela in downtown Pretoria, South Africa today. AP
People wanting to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela queue in downtown Pretoria, South Africa today.  AP
People wanting to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela queue in downtown Pretoria, South Africa today. AP
Hundreds of people line up to see the casket of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa on Wednesday.  AP
Hundreds of people line up to see the casket of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa on Wednesday. AP
Hundreds of people stand a line one after one to see the casket of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa today.  AP
Hundreds of people stand a line one after one to see the casket of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa today. AP
eople stand in line one after one to see the casket of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa on Wednesday.  AP
eople stand in line one after one to see the casket of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa on Wednesday. AP
A woman is taken away in a wheelchair after collapsing while viewing the casket of former South African President Nelson Mandela on the third and final day of lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa today.  AP
A woman is taken away in a wheelchair after collapsing while viewing the casket of former South African President Nelson Mandela on the third and final day of lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa today. AP
US civil rights campaigner Rev. Jesse Jackson, left, comforts a woman who was taken to one side after being overcome with emotion after walking past the casket of former South African President Nelson Mandela today.  AP
US civil rights campaigner Rev. Jesse Jackson, left, comforts a woman who was taken to one side after being overcome with emotion after walking past the casket of former South African President Nelson Mandela today. AP
Hundreds of people stand a line one after one to see the casket of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa on Wednesday.  AP
Hundreds of people stand a line one after one to see the casket of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa on Wednesday. AP
Four year old girl Queen rests in the shade from waiting in line, seen in the reflection, with thousands of other people to pay respect to South Africa President Nelson Mandela laying in state the third and final day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, So
Four year old girl Queen rests in the shade from waiting in line, seen in the reflection, with thousands of other people to pay respect to South Africa President Nelson Mandela laying in state the third and final day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, So
A girl looks through a security fence as she queues with others wanting to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela in downtown Pretoria, South Africa, today.  AP
A girl looks through a security fence as she queues with others wanting to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela in downtown Pretoria, South Africa, today. AP
A cheering man climbs up a fence after the casket of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela passed on its way to lay in state for the third and final day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa today.  AP
A cheering man climbs up a fence after the casket of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela passed on its way to lay in state for the third and final day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa today. AP
The casket of former South African President Nelson Mandela is followed by his oldest grandson Mandla Mandela, left, as it is carried to lie in state for the third and final day, for mourners to pay their respects at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South
The casket of former South African President Nelson Mandela is followed by his oldest grandson Mandla Mandela, left, as it is carried to lie in state for the third and final day, for mourners to pay their respects at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South
A man holding an image of former South African President Nelson Mandela pays his respects as he passes Mandela\'s casket, on the third and final day of lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa today.  AP
A man holding an image of former South African President Nelson Mandela pays his respects as he passes Mandela's casket, on the third and final day of lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa today. AP

South Africans turned out in their numbers to view Nelson Mandela in his casket on the third and last day of the revered leader's lying in state, but only a third of the more than 100,000 persons got a chance to see him.

Shortly before Mandela's casket was removed and taken to a nearby military hospital, a crowd of several hundred mourners eager to pay their last respects broke through police barriers and raced up toward the Union Buildings.

An AP reporter witnessed the crowd storming up the hill toward Mandela's casket, and police then chasing them over several hundred meters before being able to stop them.

The people were joyous as they raced toward the temporary structure where Mandela was on view in his coffin.

No violence erupted as police peacefully brought them back in line, according to the reporter.

Earlier in the day people also pushed open a police gate.

Some fell to the ground as the crowd surged, and several were slightly injured.

The government closed all nearby parking facilities around midday because of the huge crowds.

Many people said they were bitterly upset and some said the government had done a poor planning job.

"I don't think this government understands what Mandela means to so many people," said Ali Ndlovu, a 47-year-old telecoms technician who stood in line for several hours before being turned back. "If they understood, they would have given us more than three days. I'm just very disappointed."

Some of those who succeeded in viewing the body wept at the sight of the revered anti-apartheid leader in a coffin. A clear bubble allowed people to see his upper body with white hair, a gaunt face and dressed in one of his trademark colorful shirts.

Mourner Elizabeth Leening said she got up at 3 a.m. and headed toward the Union Buildings an hour later to pay her last respects to Mandela.

"We have been standing in the queue now for four hours to see Madiba," she said, using Mandela's clan name as a sign of affection and respect.

Mandela, who was jailed for 27 years during white rule and later became South Africa's first black president, died December 5 in his Johannesburg home after a long illness at the age of 95.

He will be buried in a state funeral in his remote childhood home, Qunu, in the southeast of the country on Sunday.

Britain's Prince Charles, some African leaders and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey are expected to attend the burial with Mandela family members and South African leaders.

WATCH: ERICA's EDGE ... Mandela, the greatest man to have walked earth



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