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1990: Rebel cricketers face storm of protest
Police in Johannesburg armed with batons and dogs have broken up a demonstration against the rebel cricketers who are defying a ban on playing in segregated South Africa.

Several hundred protesters, many waving placards saying "Apartheid is not cricket" and "Ban racist tours" had gathered in the arrivals hall at Jan Smuts airport to wait for the 15 England tourists led by former captain Mike Gatting.

The cricketers were three hours late - by which time the police had moved in waving batons, setting the dogs on protesters and firing tear gas.

Winnie Mandela - wife of the jailed African National Congress leader, Nelson Mandela - was seen among the crowd wiping tears from her eyes.

She later complained of police brutality.

You are getting lots of nice perks on the backs of the blacks in South Africa
Anti-apartheid activist
The tour has been organised by managing director of the South African Cricket Union, Dr Ali Bacher, and is opposed by the ANC and the mainly black National Sports Congress.

They have threatened to disrupt matches and interrupt play as part of their on-going campaign for the intensification of sanctions against South Africa.

There is mounting speculation Nelson Mandela is about to be freed.

Dr Bacher, who has spoken out against apartheid, insists the tour is needed to generate income and promote cricket at all levels.

The England rebels are also meant to be taking part in coaching schemes in black townships.

The cricketers who also include, David Graveney and John Emburey, faced a barrage of reporters at a news conference shortly after their arrival.

Mike Gatting was asked about the demonstration at the airport. He said it was all over by the time the cricketers landed and they had not witnessed any violence.

"Obviously we hope the demonstrations will be peaceful. We are unhappy if it was a peaceful demonstration that was disrupted," he said.

The organisers have refused to disclose how much the rebel tourists are being paid. But reports say Gatting is being paid 100,000 to captain the tourists.

He also faces a ban of up to five years from Test cricket.

At a news conference before he left England, an anti-Apartheid activist heckled Gatting, shouting: "You are getting lots of nice perks on the backs of the blacks in South Africa."

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Mike Gatting
Mike Gatting led the team

Protests as rebel cricketers fly in

In Context
The rebel tour had to be abandoned early because of disruption.

Organisers feared for the players' safety after an explosion at the second Test venue, Capetown's Newlands, before the match.

Twenty-five days of demonstrations - plus the change in political climate following the release on 11 February of Nelson Mandela - convinced Dr Bacher the tour could not continue.

A second tour planned for the following winter was also cancelled. The players were reported to have been paid in full.

Gatting served a three-year Test ban and was recalled to the England side for the tour of India and Sri Lanka in 1992-93.

His last Test appearance was during the 1994-95 tour of Australia when he scored 117 in the Adelaide Test.

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