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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 March 2007, 19:24 GMT
Hundreds march against SA crime
South African police
South African police are often criticised
Hundreds of South Africans have marched in some of the country's main cities in protest at the high levels of violent crime.

Politicians, religious leaders and schoolchildren were on the streets of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

Every day, more than 300 murders and violent attacks take place in South Africa, making it one of the three most dangerous countries on earth.

An estimated 200,000 people have signed a petition urging government action.

The protesters want a change in what they call the government's relaxed attitude towards policing.

Crime statistics
The petition calls for a stronger police presence on the streets, better training and efforts to end police corruption.

"So many people are getting robbed and killed every day," one of the marchers told BBC journalist Mpho Lakaje.

The governing ANC rejected reports of thousands of protesters on the streets, saying there was a maximum of 500 marchers.

While the overall crime rate in South Africa has shown signs of a downturn, President Thabo Mbeki admitted in February that people lived in fear of violent crime and promised an increase in police numbers.

Just weeks before, he had insisted that most South Africans did not think the crime rate in their country was getting out of hand.

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