WASHINGTON (AP) _ Detroit Mayor Coleman Young and two other demonstrators were arrested Monday outside the South African Embassy in an ongoing protest against that nation's apartheid policy of racial separation.

Arrested with Young on charges of congregating within 500 feet of an embassy were Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund, and Marcello Fernandez, director of bilingual education for the District of Columbia.

The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of a $100 fine and 60 days in jail, but the U.S. attorney's office has been declining to prosecute embassy protestors.

Young, who was frisked and handcuffed along with Ms. Edelman and Fernandez when they approached the embassy, said he was proud to be part of the protest against ''outrageous discrimination visited upon black people in the land of their nativity.''

''It's about time the attention of the whole world, and certainly this nation, be focused on this,'' he said.

Earlier, Young marched in a picket line with about 75 demonstrators near the embassy, wearing a placard that said ''Free South Africa Now 3/8'' He was released on his own recognizance following arrest.

So far, 112 demonstrators have been arrested outside the embassy and more the 330 others have been taken into custody in similar picketing elsewhere in the nation, according to TransAfrica, a group that organizes the demonstrations. The campaign began in November.

Young told reporters he was ''sensitive to South Africa's violations of the rights of the people who were born in South Africa and cannot vote in their native soil.''

''I'm sure their (South African officials') indignation cannot match mine,'' he said.

Young said the momentum of the demonstrations is reminiscent of the civil rights marches of the 1960s and that civil disobedience is being used now because ''nothing else seems to have worked.''