Rugby enthusiasts and anti-apartheid demonstrators tried to outshout each other at Perth airport today (Saturday) as the South African rugby union team arrived for their controversial tour of Australia.
Rugby enthusiasts and anti-apartheid demonstrators tried to outshout each other at Perth airport today (Saturday) as the South African rugby union team arrived for their controversial tour of Australia. The demonstrators continued to picket the team as they spent their first night in Australia, culminating in clashes on the field of play during the tourist's first match. Several people were arrested.
The question of whether the South African players should be allowed to enter Australia has been causing bitter discussion in Australia for weeks. Many think that to welcome the players would be to condone the South African government policy of racial apartheid. Those against the tour were further infuriated by the statement of the Prime Minister, Mr. William McMahon, that a Royal Australian Air Force aircraft would be used if necessary to fly the South Africans from Perth to Adelaide on Monday.
The South Africans beat Western Australia by 44 points to 18.
This film was telerecorded from a satellite transmission in black and white, and includes a commentary from the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Our commentary retains the second part of the original commentary.
SYNOPSIS: Perth airport on Saturday morning, where several hundred people for and against the South African Springbok rugby tour of Australia congregated before the team arrived. There was little opportunity for any violence because at least 50 police and airport security men were ready to move in at any sign of unruliness. However, the rival factions did manage to tear up some of each other's banners.
There's been bitter discussion in Australia about the Springbok tour for weeks, with the Labour party and the trade unions particularly opposed. They say that to welcome the South Africans is to condone the South African apartheid policy.
The police mounted a major security operation at the stadium for the Springboks first match, against Western Australia. Journalists and cameramen said they'd never seen police precautions on such a scale in Western Australia.