March 21 - 1960 - The Sharpeville Massacre

Large numbers of people gathered at the police station in Sharpevile, a township south of Johannesburg, to protest the "pass laws" of Apartheid-era South Africa. The idea of such laws was that every black South African had to carry papers everywhere they went, further enshrining the limitations on movement set up under Apartheid. The protest was organized by the Pan Africanist Congress, a splinter group from the African National Congress, who also usurped the planned protest by the ANC by ten whole days. So the people gathered amid unease and unhappiness with a lack of clear leadership in front of the police station. This made the all-white police force panic, which caused them to call in more police with armored personnel carriers and machine guns. After a small tussle, police opened fire on the crowd. In less than one minute, 69 people were fatally shot, while more than one hundred others were injured. The evidence later showed that most of those shot were shot while running away from police. In the aftermath of the Sharpeville massacre, the anti-Apartheid parties became more willing to use violence, while the government cracked down harder on those parties.

William Floyd