On This Day: South African Police Kill 69 Black Anti-Apartheid Protesters in Sharpeville Massacre UK
Officers opened fire on a 19,000-strong crowd who had arrived at a police station to offer themselves up for arrest for not carrying their hated passbooks.
Many of the victims, who included eight women and ten children, were shot in the back as they turned to flee.
A further 180 people were also injured in the attack in the Sharpeville township after the heavily-armed police claimed they were provoked by stone-throwing.
The demonstrators were protesting against the recently expanded Pass Laws that forced blacks to carry ID everywhere and restricted their movement.