INTRODUCTION: In South Africa, security police said on Thursday (24 April) that they had arrested four activists in a move apparently connected with the spreading revolt by schoolchildren.
GV Children from Belgravia High School, Cape Town, march along road outside Stinton, PAN TO policeman looking on
SV Police put arrested student into police van. Student escapes from van and is cheered by children.
GV Children march along road singing "We shall Overcome"
GV PAN Long line of marching schoolchildren
SV Children in sight of Athlone High School, Cape Town. Athlone schoolchildren watch and refuse to join in
SV Children from another school join demonstration
GV Children assemble at Rylands School, Cape Town
CU Schoolchildren leave school and join demonstration
GV Children at Heideveld High School, Cape Town march across playground to entrance
SV Children from same school stopped by policeman at gate
SV Children cheer as gates are opened, they join protest
GV Children from another school join demonstrators
GTV Large crowds of children at Bosmont, Johannesburg, carrying placards (2 shots)
LV Crowd sitting on building with banners
SV Reverend John Thorne speaking to crowd through loudhailer (3 shots)
GV Crowds leaving area escorted by police (2 shots)
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
THORNE: "We congratulate you for the courageous and gallant stand that you are taking. We applaud the manner in which you are demonstrating....We want you to know two things. First of all that the church and your ministers wish to express complete solidarity with you...."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: In South Africa, security police said on Thursday (24 April) that they had arrested four activists in a move apparently connected with the spreading revolt by schoolchildren. The pupils, mostly coloured, (of mixed race), are protesting against racial segregation in education.
SYNOPSIS: The classroom boycott by coloured high school pupils began in Cape Town. On Tuesday (22 April) they staged a mass demonstration with 8,000 young people marching through the city. Their protest brought them into conflict with the police.
The protesters marched from school to school, calling for support.
Altogether, it is estimated that more than a hundred thousand pupils from South Africa's major cities are taking part in the boycott. At some schools, pupils have refused to join in. But support has come from the mainly white students at the University of Whitwatersrand in Johannesburg.
The Government has threatened to close schools if the protest continues, but the Opposition has warned of the dangers of a repetition of the 1976 riots in the black townships of Soweto. They started with student protests and ended with nearly 600 people dead. The students are protesting against lack of funds for the education of coloured children.
Reports from South Africa remark on a wide gap in the expenditure on the education of each coloured child compared with each white child. The coloured child receives just over one third of the funds spent on a white child. The figure for blacks is even lower. The Government has said the standard of coloured education is receiving urgent attention. A spokesman accused "outsiders" of exploiting the difficulties of younger children. In reply, the Opposition has said the young people are reflecting "a frustration and simmering anger."
Another protest was held at Bosmont outside Johannesburg. Police were on hand but observers said they kept their distance during the rally. Community leaders addressed the students, and promised their support for a peaceful protest. One of the speakers was the Reverend John Thorne.
Two days later the Security Police acted, carrying out a series of raids, and arresting known activists.