Jacob Zuma
South African President Jacob Zuma arriving at the chancellery in Berlin, Nov. 10, 2015. Getty Images/Sean Gallup

Protesters demanding the resignation of South African President Jacob Zuma took to the streets in the major cities of the country Friday. The march was sparked by Zuma’s controversial decision to sack a finance minister.

Zuma sacked respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last week, a decision that put him at the receiving end of criticism from both the opposition and members of his own party.

Read: Zuma Survives Impeachment In South Africa But Political, Economic Uncertainty Remains

Thousands of people gathered for demonstrations in the capital Pretoria, as well as major cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Social media was flooded with pictures of protesters walking the streets with signs that read “Fire Zuma,” “Zuma must go now,” “Zuma must fall,” among others.

The legality of the protests is still under question as the police said Thursday that the march in the capital did not have the permission of the authorities. A magistrate, however, struck down on the police order.

Protesters are expected to get together close to the headquarters of the country’s ruling party in Johannesburg, leading to a number of veterans and youth wing members of the party to gather outside the building to protect it, BBC reported.

In a post on Twitter early Friday, the government called for peace and warned against those looking to spark unrest. The post read, “The laws of our country protect the right of those who would not like to participate in protest action. #PeacefulMarches”

Zuma can either be ousted by the ruling party – African National Congress – recalling him, or a vote of no confidence in parliament. The vote has been scheduled for April 18 but the likelihood of Zuma being forced to leave while he has the backing of the ANC, which retains a large majority in parliament, is low. Previously, he has survived such confidence votes.

The move also contributed to a credit ratings downgrade of South Africa’s foreign currency government debt to junk or sub-investment grade status by Standard & Poor’s Monday.