The people taking side of Zuma put forth the argument that the courts are compromised and biased against him.
The rallies in support of him were "an appalling exhibition of disregard for the very serious charges he faces", prominent broadcaster Eusebius McKaiser tweeted.
Since his election nine years ago, his opponents have fought a lengthy legal battle to have the charges reinstated.
- June 2005: Shaik is convicted and jailed for 15 years for fraud and corruption.
He told the judge that the trial could start on November 12, as there was space on the criminal roll. Occasionally he fiddled with his tie or pressed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose.
Thousands of Zuma supporters marched in Durban's streets after Zuma's court appearance.
The case was however postponed to June 8.
In the case, which is officially known as "the State v Zuma", he is referred to as "accused number one".
He also talked about the struggle of Back people worldwide and said that he had been targeted because he championed their economic empowerment.
Zuma sat in the dock alongside Christine Guerrier, who will represent Thales for the duration of the trial.
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Zuma was head of the South African National AIDS Council at the time, and was pilloried for his ignorance. The stakes are very high for Zuma.
Gani confirmed that Zuma's lawyers will "challenge the legitimacy of the prosecution". The government says it has already spent $1.3 million (U.S.) on Zuma's legal defence, though opposition parties say the real amount is several times more.
Advocate Anton Katz, acting for Thales, had nothing to add. The BBC's Pumza Fihlani met them outside court.
Zuma's legal team will seek a review of National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams' decision that there was no reason for him not to be tried. He gave a thumbs-up to media; there was a special wave for BLF.
A young traditional dancer in full warrior costume and clutching a shield took to the stage following Zuma to entertain the crowd after he addressed them in his native Zulu language. They include: Willies Mchunu (premier of KwaZulu-Natal), Sihle Zikalala and Super Zuma.
It was a blisteringly hot Durban morning. It argues Mr Zuma was unceremoniously removed from his position as party leader and president to protect white business interests.
When Zuma took the microphone to speak, he did so at length to a hushed and attentive audience.
A glib Zuma‚ wearing a broad grin‚ was met with rapturous applause outside the Durban High Court.
The charges have been brought in relation to a 1990s arms deal.
While he was president, Zuma appealed that ruling.