• Short Summary

    There was a brief lull in South Africa's Soweto township violence on Wednesday and Thursday (August 4 and 5).

  • Description

    There was a brief lull in South Africa's Soweto township violence on Wednesday and Thursday (August 4 and 5).

    SYNOPSIS: The apparently peaceful scenes in the early hours of the morning belied the bloodshed which has wrecked the black dormitory suburb to Johannesburg, South Africa's business centre, since last month. At the height of the riots 176 people died in one day -- most of them black, most of them children, and most of them victims of police bullets. Much of the recent violence has been aimed at commuters travelling into jobs in white Johannesburg.

    Almost all the disturbances have gone unrecorded by television cameras. For as soon as it erupted last month, police closed off the entrances to Soweto -- refusing to allow in any whites, including newsmen. The trouble originally began when schoolchildren protested at the enforced use of Afrikaans as a teaching language. Afrikaans is the official white language, and alien to most blacks. The government quickly withdrew the rule -- but it was too late. Violence continued -- most of it aimed at enforcing a boycott of black workers travelling to their jobs.

    Reporters on the scene said that general grievances against apartheid had taken over from the original language protests as the driving force behind the disturbances.

    Schools have been open but empty throughout the week as students boycotted classes. Most medical centres were closed, and transport was severely disrupted -- especially bus services. At least seven people ware reported killed in fresh disturbances on Friday (August 6), although police denied killing any of them. Initial reports said the dead included a girl trampled to death by a mob, and a man who broke his neck when diving off a commuter bus which was being stoned.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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    Available on request
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