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April 4th in History

    2018-10-03

April 4th in History
Martin Luther King ? on the balcony where he was shot

1968: Martin Luther King shot dead

England have

The American black civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King, has been assassinated.

Dr King was shot dead in the southern US city of Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a march of sanitation workers protesting against low wages and poor working conditions.

He was shot in the neck as he stood on a hotel balcony and died in hospital soon afterwards.

Reverend Jesse Jackson was on the balcony with Dr King when the single shot rang out.

"He had just bent over. I reckon if he had been standing up he would not have been hit in the face," said Mr Jackson.


I ask every citizen to reject the blind violence that has taken Dr King

President Lyndon Johnson


Police in Memphis were put on alert for a "well-dressed" white man who is said to have dropped an automatic rifle after the shooting and escaped in a blue car.

There were early signs of rioting in Memphis after Dr King's death and 4,000 members of the National Guard were drafted into the city.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been ordered to ward off disturbances.

The US President, Lyndon Johnson, has postponed a trip to Hawaii for peace talks on Vietnam.

The president said he was "shocked and saddened" by the civil rights leader's death.

"I ask every citizen to reject the blind violence that has taken Dr King who lived by non-violence," Mr Johnson said.

Bus boycott

Dr King, 39, had previously survived several attempts on his life including the bombing of his home in 1956.

The charismatic civil rights leader joined the crusade for equal rights for black people in America in the mid 1950s.

He first came to national prominence as one of the leaders of the Alabama bus boycott in 1955.

In 1963 Dr King led a massive march on Washington DC where he delivered his now famous "I have a dream" speech.

Dr King advocated the use of non-violent tactics such as sit-ins and protest marches.

In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel peace prize.

April 4th in History
Mr Bhutto was sentenced to death after a murder trial.

1979: Deposed Pakistani PM is executed

Artificially 1969:
The Pakistan's former Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, has been hanged in spite of international calls for clemency .

Mr Bhutto, 51, who had been Pakistan's leader since 1973, was deposed in an army coup 18 months ago.

He was sentenced to death for the murder of a political opponent following a trial which was widely condemned as unfair.

The appeal process was also tainted by allegations of bias on the part of some judges.

No advance warning of the execution had been given.

Mr Bhutto's wife and daughter, Benazir, who are both under house arrest, visited him on the morning before his death.

They had been told it would be their last meeting but the military regime, led by General Zia ul-Haq, continued to deny an execution was imminent.

Autocratic leader

Few details have emerged of the circumstances surrounding the hanging but it is believed to have taken place at 0200 local time (2100 GMT, 3 April) in the Rawalpindi district jail in north-east Pakistan.

Pakistanis learnt of Mr Bhutto's death when it was announced on state radio at 1100 local time (0600 GMT).

Shortly after his execution, Mr Bhutto's body was flown to his home village in the Sind province and buried in the family plot.

His wife and his daughter were not permitted to attend the funeral.

Another four men convicted with Mr Bhutto of murder remain in prison.

Mr Bhutto, a member of a rich and influential family, was known as an autocratic leader but was respected internationally.

His death looks set to lead to Pakistan's isolation on the world stage.

The United Nations' Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim, said he deplored the decision by Pakistan's leaders to ignore appeals for clemency.

British Prime Minister James Callaghan, who made a third appeal for Mr Bhutto's life only yesterday, expressed his "deep regret".

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