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S. Africa Police Use Whips on Black Women

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Associated Press

Police today used rubber whips to break up a group of black women marching to protest restrictions on riot victims’ funerals, police said.

The clash in Kempton Park, a white town just east of Johannesburg, occurred when the women refused orders to disperse as they marched to a court to see the chief magistrate.

At the Crossroads shanty city near Cape Town, government crews resumed clearing the rubble of shacks destroyed last week in fierce battles between rival groups of squatters.

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Thousands of homes were razed in the fighting, leaving between 25,000 and 50,000 blacks homeless.

There were conflicting reports of the number of fatalities in the four-day battle. Police had put the figure at 44, but a spokesman in Cape Town said it appeared the actual number might be 33, with the confusion possibly resulting from duplication of death reports.

Number Disputed

In Kempton Park, a reporter estimated that about 300 women from the nearby Tembisa black township took part in the march, but a police spokesman in Pretoria put the number at 70.

He said the women twice refused orders to leave, and then police dispersed the group with quirts--rubber whips.

Some women, including a number with babies strapped to their backs, suffered bruises but none appeared seriously injured, the reporter said.

The women were objecting to court restrictions on and bannings of funerals for those killed in unrest in black townships. Some in the crowd said such bannings merely anger black communities and lead to more bloodshed when mourners try to gather anyway and police react.

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