South Africa: A Crackdown on Violence

The government acts as turmoil spreads through black townships

The other shoe dropped with a loud thud last week in South Africa. After eleven months of mounting black violence, Executive President P.W. Botha declared a state of emergency in 36 riot-torn cities and towns, most of them in the Eastern Cape or near Johannesburg. It was South Africa's first declared emergency in 25 years and gave police expanded powers to make arrests, detain suspects indefinitely, impose curfews and restrict press reporting. The announcement last Saturday upstaged a dramatic funeral in the Eastern Cape. Some 25,000 black mourners converged on the town of Cradock from hundreds of miles around to pay...

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