• Short Summary

    The March 21 incident at Sharpeville, near Johannesburg, South Africa, in which at least 64 Africans were killed and over 150 injured police fired on a crowd of demonstrators, has been followed by immediate reactions in Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union.

  • Description

    The March 21 incident at Sharpeville, near Johannesburg, South Africa, in which at least 64 Africans were killed and over 150 injured police fired on a crowd of demonstrators, has been followed by immediate reactions in Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union.

    Also on March 21, police opened fire of African demonstrators in Langa, Cape Town, where - according to reports - six people were killed and 30 injured.

    Shooting began at Sharpeville, an African township in an industrial area, when crowds of Africans surrounded a police station. They had gathered following a protest demonstration against the Government's pass laws, which requires Africans to carry identity cards. The protest - intended as non-violent - was organised by the Pan-African Congress, an extremist group which broke away from the more moderate African National Congress, and led by 36-year-old Mr. Robert Sobukwe. His plan was for the numerous Pan-Africanists to go to police stations without identity cards and ask to be arrested.

    A news film cameramen at Sharpeville - veteran of World War Two - described the scene after shooting as one of the bloodiest he had ever witnessed.

    At Evaton - near Sharpeville and the town of Vereeniging - six South African Air Force Sabre jets and eight Harvard aircraft dived within 100 feet of a crowd of 10,000 Africans and saved Evaton Police Station from destruction.

    The crowds had gathered near the Police Station demanding to be arrested. They were in a threatening mood, but when the planes roared low overhead their anger turned to good humoured mockery and soon after. the crowd despaired. Later, police re-inforcements, including two Saracen armoured cars, were rushed to Evaton.

    Moscow radio has deplored the clashes, describing them as horrifying atrocities and saying they had caused widespread anger in the Soviet Union.

    In Washington, a statement read to the Press said that although the U.S. Government does not normally comment on internal affairs of friendly countries, it could not help regretting the tragic loss of life in South Africa and hoped there would be redress for South negroes.

    Opposition Labour Members in the British Parliament tried in vain to get the Government to make some public expression of regret at what happened. There were scuffles outside Africa House, London, as a crowd of about 600 clashed with police while demonstrating against the shootings.

    Dr. Verwoerd, South African Prime Minister, told Parliament in Cape Town that the events of March 21 could not be described as reaction against the Government's apartheid policy, and had nothing to do with passes carried by Africans, He said "they were a periodic phenomenon" - unconnected also with poverty and low wages - and there had been recently similar troubles with other non-independent African countries.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVABXHDVEM8S0MKI3B8O2298OG14
    Media URN:
    VLVABXHDVEM8S0MKI3B8O2298OG14
    Group:
    Reuters - Incuding Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    23/03/1960
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:01:44:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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