South Africa’s president is leading a national commemoration of the day 52 years ago when apartheid-era police gunned down 69 blacks protesting segregation in the township of Sharpeville.
President Jacob Zuma said Wednesday that South Africa honors its annual Human Rights Day by remembering “these patriots and thousands of others who fell” in the struggle that led to the first all-race elections that swept Nelson Mandela to power in 1994. The newly democratic nation then adopted a Bill of Rights and one of the world’s freest constitutions.
Zuma was addressing commemorations of rights day, formerly known as Sharpeville Day, in Johannesburg’s Soweto township. On Tuesday, police reported violent disturbances in Sharpeville north of Johannesburg over demands the symbolic commemoration be held there.
SOURCE: The Associated Press