The Rev. Allan Boesak, a leading antiapartheid activist, yesterday predicted "a bloodbath" in South Africa on June 16 when a general strike, already banned by the white-run government, is scheduled to commemorate the 10th anniversary of racial violence in which hundreds of blacks were killed.
Boesak said he expected large turnouts for the strike and for nationwide church services called for the same day by clergymen, including Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, after the government said it was banning all public meetings marking the anniversary.
"The strike is going to go through anyway," Boesak said during a meeting with editors and reporters at The Washington Post. "I don't think there is any way you can tell the students and the youth that they must stop protesting, they must not come on the streets on that day. I think it's going to happen. It doesn't matter who says don't."
Boesak said he expected that South African police and Army forces will be out "in full force" to enforce the government's ban.
"I foresee very, very serious clashes with the South African police and with the Army," he said. "There's going to be a bloodbath. They're going to have to kill people. But the people will not stay at home simply because the government says so."
Boesak, a founder of the United Democratic Front, the main black activist organization in South Africa, is scheduled to speak here tonight at the annual dinner of TransAfrica, a Washington-based antiapartheid group.
Law and Order Minister Louis le Grange issued a proclamation on Wednesday banning all public meetings to commemorate the 1976 uprising in Soweto, the black township outside Johannesburg. Demonstrations begun by Soweto schoolchildren led to more than 600 blacks being fatally shot by police. The date has become a symbol of black nationalism in South Africa.
"There is no way we can call off our church services," Boesak said. "The church cannot bow down to the government on this issue . . . "