Congregants of the Jesus Dominion International Church in Sidwell, Port Elizabeth have left the building after a service of about two hours, under heavy police guard.

This after heated arguments between protesters, church leaders and police earlier erupted outside the Jesus Dominion International Church in Port Elizabeth.

A group of about 80 people gathered outside the church of Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso who is being tried on 97 sex related offences.

The group is threatening to enter and close the church. It includes representatives of the Africa National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and  Women’s League (ANCWL), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the religious fraternity, Congress of South African Students (COSAS) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM).

There is also a large contingent of metro police and media.

The trial of the controversial Nigerian pastor is expected to resume in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday.

The organisations and political parties have vowed to shut down the church.

This follows the grueling cross-examination that the first witness in the pastor’s rape trial endured in the High Court in Port Elizabeth this week.

Cheryl Zondi was allegedly sexually groomed and raped from the age of 14.

Several other girls, whom Omotoso allegedly abused, will testify about their ordeals in the church mission house in Durban.

The ANC Women’s League’s Nomafa Sinetile says they have had it, and shutting down the church is a sign of that. “We still firmly united against rapists, human traffickers and the manipulation of our girl children and our sisters we say enough is enough the church must be closed down.”

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