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South African Police Open Fire On Peaceful Demonstrators

Historical Events

On March 21, 1960 up to 300 South African police officers opened fire on a crowd of more than 5,000 unarmed demonstrators at Sharpville, near Johannesburg. The protesters were outside a municipal office protesting laws, which require all black men and women to carry reference books containing their personal details including name, tax code and employer details.

When it ended 67 people had been killed and more than 200 were wounded. This event marked the African National Congress' move away from nonviolence and into armed action, and South Africa's deepening issolation from the world community. The massacre prompted a British Commonwealth condemnation of apartheid.

In 1966 the United Nations General Assembly declared March 21st "International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination."

Posted:  2004-02-16  2:38:33 PM

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