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The gallery had replaced pieces from Mr. Murray’s show in its windows with signs reading: “The Goodman Gallery respects your right to protest.”

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu addressed the crowd outside the gallery, saying, “We refuse to be painted as inferior citizens of this country.”

South African Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande, a Zuma ally, compared the case to a hate-speech suit a group that lobbies for white South Africans brought against an ANC leader who had insisted on continuing to sing a song from the apartheid era that calls for killing whites. The judge in that case banned the song.

Mr. Nzimande said some have asked why Zuma supporters went to court, as the white group did, instead of trying to speak to the artist and the gallery to find a solution.

“You can’t have a dialogue with a person who is actually insulting you,” Mr. Nzimande said.

Ms. Kgomo, the protester, said that despite the division vividly on display Tuesday, a resolution was possible.

“If they apologize to our president, then it will be enough for us,” she said.