In Rhodesia, more than three hundred blacks have been arrested during country-wide protests at compulsory military service.
In Rhodesia, more than three hundred blacks have been arrested during country-wide protests at compulsory military service. The transitional government announced several weeks ago that all black Rhodesians between the ages of 18 and 25 would be subject to military call-up as from 1 January next year, and that those eligible would have to register by 1 December.
SYNOPSIS: But there has been widespread opposition to the draft. These young blacks staged a peaceful protest on Friday (24 November) in the centre of the Rhodesian capital, Salisbury. Before this incident, black students at several schools throughout Rhodesia staged demonstrations against conscription, and many burned their registration papers. Rhodesian police arrested dozens of the protesters.
This peaceful protest drew some jeers from white bystanders and when the police moved in, the demonstrators offered no resistance. they waited patiently as a police vehicle made repeated trips to take them to the nearest police station. Officials said later that 171 people had been arrested, and would be charged with staging an illegal march.
The demonstration came shortly after a Rhodesian Government Minister had told the Salisbury "Herald" newspaper that, although about 25 thousand black Rhodesians were eligible for military service, fewer than a quarter of that number would actually be called up to serve with the armed forces.
The extent of the call-up, the Minister said, would depend both on the ability of the army to train and accommodate new conscripts, and on the qualifications and background of the men themselves. He said the call-up was just as hard on the young white population as it was on the blacks. More than half of the Rhodesian Army is made up of black volunteers.