CAPE TOWN - The Economic Freedom Fighters may take up arms if their "peaceful revolution" is met with violence from the state, party leader Julius Malema said on Thursday.
"We can't rule out the possibility of an armed struggle if the state is going to meet peaceful protest with violence," he said in a pre-recorded interview aired on SAfm radio.
"We would not do anything which seeks to compromise the 1994 breakthrough and it all depends on how the state responds to the radical demands of our people."
He hoped the ruling party would not be tempted to adopt "apartheid tactics" when faced with serious pressure.
Malema, an MP, made reference to his recent objection to President Jacob Zuma's reply to a question about when he was going to repay part of the R246-million spent on security upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
On August 21, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete ordered EFF MPs out of the House after they disrupted proceedings and chanted "pay back the money" at Zuma.
She called the sergeant-at-arms to remove them after the EFF refused to leave, remaining in their benches in protest. The EFF planned to legally challenge disciplinary charges against 20 MPs stemming from their heckling of Zuma.
Malema told the radio station there was no need for a "military response" from the state.
"In the Parliament, the freedom of speech and expression is unlimited. It is absolute and you need to live with that.
"All of you must begin to accept that we are exercising our rights to the limit and therefore we are not going to conduct ourselves in a manner defined by the middle class which has always hated us. It will never vote for us."
He said the EFF wanted to avoid anarchy and instead lead an organised revolution that would bring hope to the working class and eliminate poverty.