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.
GV Thousands of Africans at Sharpeville
LV Pan Ditto. Pan to agitators
CU Africans and banners 'Africa for the Africans' and 'Away with the passes'
SV Africans raving
SV Demonstrators wave banners 'Away with passes'
CU Banners 'Africa freedom in our lifetime
LV Body on ground, surrounded by police
SV Pan wounded and dead on ground
CU Dead man on ground
LV Pan Police cover body with blanket, pan to wounded loaded into open truck
LV Body being wrapped in blanket
LV PAN Policeman carries wounded man
CU Wounded woman lying in road
SV Wounded African being treated : lying on pavement
LV Pan Police carry victim into ambulance
SV Victim loaded into ambulance
LV Policeman carries victim in blanket, policeman in FG with whip
SV Policeman carrying victim in blanket
LV PAN Ambulance leaving
CU Sign 'Evatown'
SV PAN From Saracen armoured car to police
SV Heavily armed police stand by
TV Thousands of Africans gathered at Evatown
LV Policemen stand outside Evatown police station
TV Pan Africans wave arms
LV Pan Plane swooping down
SV Police reinforcements with clubs and rifles in backs of open trucks
SV One European hands rifle to another, who is standing by with police
Initials BA/S/AS BA/S/WS/AS/ES
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Background: 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.