Johannesburg crowds were amazed to hear loudspeakers from the City Hall steps Sept 28 denouncing their Prime Minister Dr.
Johannesburg crowds were amazed to hear loudspeakers from the City Hall steps Sept 28 denouncing their Prime Minister Dr. Verwoerd and the Nationalist Government in resounding terms. The words came from an anti-Republican meeting held by the Congress of Democrats - a small party formed after the Communist Party was banned in south Africa - and before long there were violent arguments and scuffles in the crowd as Government supporters attempted to break up the assembly.
The Congress of Democrats were demonstrating against the Nationalists proposed republic on which a national referendum is to be held Oct. 5. Police had surrounded the meeting as the loudspeakers boomed: "South Africa will be a multi-racial country whether Verwoerd likes it or not - the Nationalists are trying to seal up a volcano."
A stormy start was made to the meeting when an elderly white woman climbed on to the platform and began heckling. She shouted "What about the Congo?" as many hands reached up to drag her off.
One bus conductor was pursued by several hundred people - mostly Africans - and other bus workers bundled him in to a cafe for protection. He had blood running from a severe gash above the right eye.
For half an hour traffic was held up as the crowd milled from one street to the next. It was a tense situation. A quarter of a million Africans work in Johannesburg and they have a facility for crowding in their hundreds to any disturbance. Eventually the police moved the crowd back to the pavement and as the lunch-hour was ending. Africans and Europeans went back to work.