In history: Government sends heavily-armed police to Soweto

In history: Government sends heavily-armed police to Soweto

On this day 43 years ago, the government responded to the student uprising by rushing in large forces on policemen into Soweto. About 1 500 police officers, carrying a variety of automatic rifles and stun guns, patrolled the township.

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Following the 16 June, 1976 Soweto protest, which saw between 3 000 and 10 000 students mobilised by the South African Students Movement's Action Committee and supported by the BCM, marched peacefully to demonstrate and protest against the government, which was was faced with a looming crisis. The killing and injuring of student protesters with the use of firearms by the police saw the nation filled with increased unrest.

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In history: Government sends heavily armed police to Soweto

In history: Government sends heavily armed police to Soweto
Source: UGC

They rushed in over 1 000 armed police officers into the vast township. The South African Defence Force army was also on standby in case the student and community reaction became too great for the police to handle. However, the police presence and their use of live ammunition against young protesting students heightened the already-volatile situation in and around Soweto.

READ ALSO: DA leader Mmusi Maimane: South Africa's youth are still not truly free

The events in Soweto were televised around the world and outrage ensued. Three hundred white students from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) staged an illegal marched through Johannesburg's city centre in solidarity with the Soweto students.

Youth Day is the day on which South Africans celebrate and remember the bravery of all the young students with pride in their hearts.

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