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Flashcards in History- Sharpeville Massacre Deck (11):


21 March 1960


Public holiday to commemorate

Human Rights Day


Occurred when

White South African police opened fire on a crowd of black protestors, killing 69 people and injuring 180.


Robert Sobukwe

On 16 March 1960, the leader of the PAC informed the commissioner of the police that his organization would embark on a sustained but disciplined non-violent campaign for 5 days starting on the 21 March.


Aim was

To peacefully bring around the scrapping of the pass system



The objective of the March was for African men to leave their Passes at home and present themselves for arrest.
This would result in all the protestors being arrested, prisons would fill up. The country would grind to a halt as no labour would be available, and the pass law would be scrapped.


Took place at

A police station in Sharpeville (near Vereeniging)


What went wrong?

A scuffle broke out outside of the police station, in the tussle that followed a police over was pushed over.
The front row of the crowd was shoved forward as marchers from the back of the crowd, curiously wanted to see was happening up front.
It was then that the police opened fire, without being given order to do so.
Protestors immediately tried to flee but were unable to do so, due to the massive crowd surround them


Police claim

That the protestors had weapons and were the first ones to fire at them



Boycott and isolation of South Africa
E.g. South Africa banned from the Olympic Games



Pan African Congress
Opposed to working with organizations that weren't African

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