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Hospital moves black woman after protests

A group of armed white men gathered outside a hospital where a black woman was admitted, forcing officials to move the woman to a ward for Indians, a newspaper said Monday. The Star said the incident occurred Thursday at Voortrekker Hospital in the town of Potgietersrus, about 125 miles north of Johannesburg in the northern Transvaal region.

It is one of the most conservative areas of the country.

The Star quoted an unidentified witness as saying the men were armed with pistols, batons and rifles. They claimed to be members of the White Wolves, an ultra-conservative group that opposes racial reform, and threatened to remove the woman from the hospital.

The government in May declared public hospitals open to all races, but blacks in the Potgietersrus area are generally sent to another hospital near Voortrekker.

The black woman had been taken to Voortrekker for special surgery, the newspaper said. It quoted an unidentified doctor as saying the woman was moved to an Indian section of the hospital for her safety.

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