b.). Jack O'Sullivan THE "reckless or wanton violence" of the South African police force during the past few month's civil disturbances has been condemned in a strongly worded report by the country's Catholic bishops, who have collected affidavits from dozens of witnesses.
The 37-page report of the Southern African Ctholic Bishops' Conference, published last week, compared recent police conduct in the townships with "that of an occupying foreign army controlling enemy territory by force without regard for the civilian population and, it appears, without regard for the law".
"A kind, of state of war is developing between the police and the people", said Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban at the Pretoria conference to launch the report. Archbishop Hurley, who goes on trial in February accused of making unsubstantiated
allegations of police atrocities against civilians in Namibia added: "They (the police) soon to be in a mood which inspires them to say: 'The people are our enemy, and we are out to impose our will upon them by any means that we find effective'."
The report accuses the security forces of indiscriminate use of firearms, including rubber bullets, birdshot and conventional bullets.
In response to the controversial report, the South African police claimed that it contained "untruths as regards detail, chronology and events".
In the latest development in South Africa, the "Durban three", leaders of South Africa's opposition movements, the United Democratic Front and the Natal Indian Congress, decided to leave the British consulate in Durban on Wednesday. The men took refuge there three months ago under threat of being detained by the South African police. The government announced the withdrawal of the detention orders on Monday, but the fugitives have no guarantee that they will not. like some of their colleagues, be charged with treason.
The events in South Africa have added fuel to a wave of anti-apartheid feeling in the USA. Bishop Emerson Moor, auxiliary of New York has made history by becoming the first Catholic bishop in America to be arrested for civil disobedience. He was arrested last week, while blocking an entry to South Africa's New York consulate. The bishop said that he hoped "to prick the consciences of the people of the country and the government" by his action. He will appear in court on Wednesday.
The growing anti-apartheid mood in the USA forced President Reagan last weekend to meet Bishop Desmond Tutu, recently named Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg.