PRETORIA ALLOWS PROTEST MARCH

The decision by President-elect Frederik de Klerk to allow peaceful anti-apartheid protest in South Africa could ease racial conflict and usher in an era of interracial dialogue. ``The government has no objection to peaceful and orderly protest, provided proper cognizance is taken of the laws of our country,'' Mr. De Klerk said in an official statement Tuesday, paving the way for yesterday's march in Cape Town - the first major protest since a nationwide state of emergency was declared on June 12, 1986.

De Klerk's bland statement concealed a major switch in policy by a government which has used its full might to outlaw and crush even the mildest protest against apartheid laws.

The decision was taken following the intervention of senior Western diplomats, including United States Ambassador William Swing, who presented his credentials to De Klerk last Friday.

The diplomats met Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Foreign Minister Roelof Botha on consecutive days this week.

The turnabout also followed meetings between Dutch Reformed Church moderator Johan Heyns and Archbishop Tutu and later with De Klerk.

Professor Heyns said on state-controlled television Tuesday that the clerics and Pretoria officials had agreed that the Cape Town march was not a protest against the government but a ``peaceful march for freedom.''

To soften the shift in policy, senior officials pointed out that peaceful protest had always been possible, subject to approval. But in the past permission was seldom granted.

Since anti-apartheid leaders began a peaceful campaign of defiance against apartheid laws six weeks ago, the central demand has been the right to stage peaceful protests without police intervention.

``The door to a new South Africa is open - it is not necessary to batter it down,'' said De Klerk, committing himself to full political representation for all races.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK