1970s

pic7004. South Africa House occupation, August 1970

On 25 August 1970 anti-apartheid activists infiltrated the South African Embassy in London and sat in its entrance hall until they were ejected by embassy officials. They were protesting at the trial in Pretoria of 20 South Africans on charges of belonging to the ANC. The 20 included Winnie Mandela and Benjamin Ramotse, who was later sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

tu05. TUC fringe meeting, 1970

Every year the AAM held a fringe meeting at TUC congress. The 1970 congress took place soon after the newly elected Conservative government announced it would resume arms sales to South Africa. The AAM worked with sympathetic unions to ensure that congress passed a resolution deploring the decision.

arm07. ‘Stop Arms for Apartheid’ rally

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. Campaigning against arms sales became the AAM’s top priority. This leaflet advertised an AAM demonstration on 25 October. 10,000 people marched up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, led by a model of a Buccaneer bomber. Demonstrators also protested outside the office of aircraft manufacturer Hawker Siddeley, where several were arrested.

pic7013. ‘Stop Arms for Apartheid’ rally

Around 10,000 people attended a rally in Trafalgar Square on 25 October 1970 to protest against the Conservative government’s plans to sell arms to South Africa. They marched up Whitehall, led by a model of a Buccaneer bomber. Speakers at the rally included Mike Terry, Secretary of the National Union of Students, Canon John Collins, Dick Seabrook, President of the shopworkers union USDAW, Labour MP Reg Prentice, David Sheppard, Bishop of Woolwich, the ANC’s representative in Western Europe Reg September and journalist Paul Foot. Demonstrators also protested outside the office of aircraft manufacturer Hawker Siddeley, where several were arrested.

pic7014. ‘Stop Arms for Apartheid’ rally

The banner on the plinth in Trafalgar Square at the AAM’s rally on 25 October 1970 protesting against the Conservative’s government’s plans to sell arms to South Africa. Around 10,000 people marched up Whitehall, led by a model of a Buccaneer bomber. Speakers at the rally included Mike Terry, Secretary of the National Union of Students, Canon John Collins, Dick Seabrook, President of the shopworkers union USDAW, Labour MP Reg Prentice, David Sheppard, Bishop of Woolwich, the ANC’s representative in Western Europe Reg September and journalist Paul Foot. Demonstrators also protested outside the office of aircraft manufacturer Hawker Siddeley, where several were arrested. 

pic7015. ‘Stop Arms for Apartheid’ rally

The ANC’s Western Europe representative Reg September speaking at the AAM’s rally on 25 October 1970 to protest against the Conservative’s government’s plans to sell arms to South Africa. The rally was attended by around 10,000 people, who marched up Whitehall, led by a model of a Buccaneer bomber. The other speakers at the rally included Mike Terry, Secretary of the National Union of Students, Canon John Collins, Dick Seabrook, President of the shopworkers union USDAW, Labour MP Reg Prentice, David Sheppard, Bishop of Woolwich, and journalist Paul Foot. Demonstrators also protested outside the office of aircraft manufacturer Hawker Siddeley, where several were arrested. 

pic7016. ‘Stop Arms for Apartheid’ rally

Journalist Paul Foot speaking at the AAM’s rally on 25 October 1970 to protest against the Conservative’s government’s plans to sell arms to South Africa. The rally was attended by around 10,000 people, who marched up Whitehall, led by a model of a Buccaneer bomber. The other speakers at the rally included Mike Terry, Secretary of the National Union of Students, Canon John Collins, Dick Seabrook, President of the shopworkers union USDAW, Labour MP Reg Prentice, David Sheppard, Bishop of Woolwich, and the ANC’s representative in Western Europe Reg September. Demonstrators also protested outside the office of aircraft manufacturer Hawker Siddeley, where several were arrested. 

arm10. Declaration against arms sales to South Africa

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. This Declaration was launched in November 1970 and in the next seven weeks it was signed by over 100,000 people. It was presented to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference in Singapore by the AAM’s Hon. Secretary Abdul Minty in January 1971.