S. Africa presses ouster of Johannesburg blacks

The South African government is going ahead with the prosecution of hundreds of blacks living illegally in white areas of this city despite warnings that the move could set offn international outcry.

An estimated 600 people -- blacks, Indians, and Coloreds (mixed race) -- face charges under the Group Areas Act after two test-case appeals failed. The trials will begin March 2, a senior public prosecutor said. City councilors and community leaders said the wave of prosecutions could leave hundreds of families homeless.

Opposition leaders had warned the government last year that putting the residents on trial would set off a national and internati onal reaction that would harm South Africa irreparably.

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