Sharpeville Massacre. Running from the violence after police open fire on the protesters. 1960


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Private collection, Franco Frescura

As the 1950s gave way to the 1960s the ANC and PAC both announced plans to tackle the pass laws for blacks (both men and women) with massive protests, civil disobedience and pass burnings. There was a sense of rivalry between the two organisations to get their campaigns off the ground first. Suddenly the country was rocked by the events of 21 March in Sharpeville where people had gathered to show the police that they did not have their passes - and thus to invite arrest. In the general confusion and escalating tension of the situation, police shot and killed 69 people and an additional 180 people were injured.