South Africa, undergoing its most sustained period of unrest in four years, on Saturday (14 June) banned all political meeting in an effort to damp down the potentially explosive situation on Monday's (16 June) commemoration of the 1976 Soweto riots.
GV: Troops at roadblock and traffic in Soweto (6 shots)
GV: Police station and fortifications, armed police (5 shots)
GV EXTERIOR: Diakonia House, Johannesburg (2 shots)
CU INTERIOR: Bishop Tutu speaking.
TOP GV: Cape flats, Cape town, streets (5 shots)
CU ZOOM IN: Poster saying shop shut June 16 and 17. (5 shots)
GV: Residential area of Cape flats. (4 shots)
TUTU: "There are class boycotts, meat boycotts and the whole situation in the schools. And yet there is also June the 16th coming up, which, for many in the black community, is a red letter day. I pray very much that the authorities and the police will maintain a low profile and exercise a great deal of restraint. Because if they do not, then I am afraid that perhaps unrest and violence might erupt. But if they keep a low profile, I can assure them that as far as I can make out, we intend to observe the solemn day with dignity, peacefully and quietly.
"And one wants to link this all up with the determination in the black community that one day we agree to be free. And everybody in South Africa will be free, truly free, both black and white, and I am certain that when that day comes it will be a day when we shall have, within five to ten years, a black prime minister. And I am certain in my own mind that prime minister will be Nelson Mandela."
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Background: South Africa, undergoing its most sustained period of unrest in four years, on Saturday (14 June) banned all political meeting in an effort to damp down the potentially explosive situation on Monday's (16 June) commemoration of the 1976 Soweto riots. Thousands of blacks throughout the country had been preparing to mark the anniversary with gatherings and a mass stay-away from work.
SYNOPSIS: Large numbers of police have moved into the Soweto area and set up roadblocks. They have been searching all cars entering and leaving the sprawling township. Soweto inhabitants have reported increased police activity during the past week, including numbers of riot control vehicles equipped with water cannon. Police posts have been fortified. The 1976 riots were initially sparked by protests at black schools, and grew into pitched battles between police and inhabitants of the black townships. In two months, almost six hundred people died.
The Secretary General of the South African Council of Churches, Bishop Desmond Tutu, has called on the South African police to keep a low profile during the current unrest.
The latest government order applies to all the country's major urban areas, including Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape town. The Cape area has been the main focus of the coloured students' boycott. It is not known if any of the gatherings scheduled for Monday (16 June) will take place. But thousands of non-white businesses are expected to close in sympathy. The South African Prime Minister, Mr. Pieter Botha, has said his government has duty to maintain law and order. He said it would be a serious mistake to underestimate the government's determination in this regard. Those who did would have to bear the consequences.