On June 16, 1976, South African police fired into a crowd of African school children demonstrating against the mandatory use of the Afrikaans language, a language spoken by less than five million people in the entire world. Since then, South Africa has been in a state of turmoil. School children have burned down their classrooms, workers have stormed their factories, young men have thrown gasoline bombs into fashionable shops, and tens of thousands of blacks have left their jobs and taken to the streets. The apartheid regime has responded with force, killing nearly 400 blacks, imprisoning several thousand others, banning public gatherings, and scrapping most civil liberties. Only recently has the government acknowledged that force alone is not enough to put down the unrest; it has reluctantly launched a number of minor reforms and a global diplomatic offensive to shore up its position internationally.
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