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Students Arrested; Black Child Burned to Death

March 8, 1985

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Police said they arrested 12 people today, most of them white university students, on charges of holding an illegal demonstration 31/2 months ago.

In Thursday night rioting in the rural black township of Fort Beaufort in eastern Cape Province, a group of blacks set fire to a house, killing a 7- year-old black girl trapped inside, said a police spokesman, Lt. Henry Beck. He said he did not know why the house had been set on fire.

In other clashes in Fort Beaufort’s townships, a white policeman was injured as police fired birdshot to disperse blacks who were stoning police cars, Beck said.

According to private monitoring groups,about 200 people, all of them black except a white baby, have been killed in eight months of rioting against aspects of apartheid, the white-minority government’s race segregation system.

Cape Town police spokesman Capt. Jan Calitz said six men and six women were arrested on charges of attending an illegal gathering near the University of Cape Town on Nov. 14.

Calitz said those arrested would appear in court later today, adding he understood most but not all were white students.

A student leader said those arrested in the raids between 2 and 3:30 a.m. today had been protesting the detention of an apartheid foe.

″I am shocked that the student leaders were arrested in the middle of the night and taken away to police cells,″ said Professor Stuart Saunders, vice chancellor of the university. ″I would have thought that there were other ways of arresting and charging citizens.″

The deputy vice chancellor, Professor J.V. Reid, called the arrests ″so bizarre as to make one doubt the sanity of those involved in the decision, and one hopes sanity might now prevail.″

Colin Kahanovitz, vice president of the student council, said the president, Christine Berger, was among those arrested for attending an outdoor protest against the detention of Kate Philip, president of the National Union of South African Students.

Miss Philip, a prominent white anti-apartheid campaigner, was later released without being charged.

The demonstration took place on Rhodes Drive, a thoroughfare near the campus. Outdoor protests are illegal in South Africa.

″We see these arrests as an attempt to harrass legitimate opposition to the apartheid policies of the government,″ Kahanovitz said. ″These actions will not intimidate us in continuing our opposition to apartheid and the unjust security laws this government uses against democratic South Africans to perpetuate minority rule.″

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