A black youth and two children died on Thursday (23 June) as a result of violence between blacks and security forces in the South African township of Soweto.
A black youth and two children died on Thursday (23 June) as a result of violence between blacks and security forces in the South African township of Soweto. There were widespread disturbances in Soweto and in Johannesburg itself, arising from last week's anniversary demonstrations commemorating the original riots.
SYNOPSIS: This was how it all began in Soweto on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, police were reported to have exercised restraint. But as gatherings in Soweto grew so did the numbers of troops and police, who warned that the protests were illegal. The students wanted their leaders freed from detention imposed last week on the anniversary of the original Soweto riots, which left hundreds dead and injured.
Many of those at various gatherings refused to move. Reinforcements were rushed in and a senior police officer said, "if they want trouble they'll get it". In some incidents there were reports of buildings and vehicles being stoned by the young demonstrators and police opened fire--in self-defence--they said.
In one of the clashes, a 16 year old youth was shot dead and another seriously injured. The authorities were facing a major threat. Soweto, which is nine miles (15 kms) from Johannesburg, houses one million blacks. Last year's riots which spread from Soweto to the rest of South Africa took some 500 lives -- mainly black. Senior policemen said the situation in Seweto on Thursday was much worse than it had been a week earlier on the anniversary of the riots. Security forces were using the tactics they used last week -- tear gas and "sneeze gas" which is a mixture of tear gas and talcum powder.
Students -- where they could -- stoned and burned vehicles. It was the stoning of the vehicles that caused the deaths of the two young children. A truck which had ploughed into a house where the two children were staying.