South Africa Show of Force

Blacks stage a "stay-away"

Suddenly, buses, trucks and taxis were scarce in Johannesburg. The service at restaurants and on the supermarket lines in Pretoria was painfully slow. And the factories around Port Elizabeth were strangely silent. The reason: millions of black South African drivers, waiters, supermarket cashiers, office clerks and industrial workers had taken the day off, producing the largest antiapartheid protest in the country's history.

The nationwide "stay-away" was spearheaded by the Congress of South African Trade Unions, a giant federation of 34 multiracial unions, which claims some 500,000 members. The ostensible reason for the work stoppage was the union's demand that May Day,...

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