South Africa If You Can't Beat Them, Ban Them

Botha gags the opposition

If repression stifles dissent, can absolute repression smother it entirely? South African State President P.W. Botha seemed intent on testing the proposition once again last week. Since declaring a state of emergency in June 1986, the Pretoria government has virtually stamped out violent protest in black townships that for more than two years seethed with unrest. Under the 1986 proclamation, some 30,000 activists were detained, while thousands more fled into hiding. With all outdoor meetings banned and political funerals tightly restricted, even the most determined antiapartheid groups were close to paralysis.

Last week the government delivered what it hoped would be...

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