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Senior Citizens Arrested In Berkeley; Florida Lawmakers Vote For Divestment

May 7, 1985

Undated (AP) _ Forty-six senior citizens were arrested Monday in an anti-apartheid protest in Berkeley, Calif., three men were arrested in Boston when they demonstrated against the sale of Krugerrands, and Florida lawmakers voted for a plan that would spur the state’s divestment in South Africa.

Protests against South Africa’s policy of racial segregation also continued in Iowa, New Jersey and New York.

Florida’s state Senate Governmental Operations Committee voted 5-2 on Monday in favor of a bill that would give state government five years to pull out any money invested in companies or banks that do business in South Africa.

The measure would mean that the state Board of Administration would have to divest nearly $1.8 billion in state holdings from foreign and domestic companies that do business in South Africa and reinvest the money in other companies.

The bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations and Finance and Taxation committees.

The senior citizens were cited and released after they blocked the entrance of University Hall at the University of California at Berkeley, said UC spokeswoman Lilia Villanueva. The elderly demonstrators, like hundreds of others at Berkeley, demanded the university divest about $2.4 billion.

Monday’s arrests brought to 456 the number of people apprehended since the anti-apartheid demonstrations began at the university April 10.

An MIT professor, a Unitarian minister and an anti-apartheid activist were arrested in Boston on charges of trespassing at the offices of the currency exchange firm Deak-Perera, after they sat-in there to protest the sale of Krugerrands, a gold South African coin.

Arrested were Mel King, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty member who was candidate for mayor of Boston in the last election; Boston TransAfrica President Willie Johnson and the Rev. Jack Mendelsohn, police said.

The three pleaded innocent at arraignment in Boston Municipal Court and had their cases continued to June 4.

In the Midwest, about 300 University of Iowa students chanting ″divest now″ marched through the streets of Iowa City on Monday.

The students said they would give the university 30 days to consider their demand that the school divest it’s $2.4 million in holdings in companies that do business with South Africa. If it refuses, the students threatened to stage another sit-in at administration offices, despite a judge’s order against such protests.

″At this point it is only fair we give the administration’s proposal a chance. They’ve got 30 days,″ junior Mike Ascroft said at a campus rally.

For the next month, students will concentrate their efforts on educating others about South Africa, said sophomore John Stonebarger, including a public hearing Wednesday and a teach-in Thursday.

Demonstrators at Wisconsin’s Capitol in Madison voted Monday to end their 13-day occupation of the building’s Rotunda flood with a rally Wednesday.

Demonstration leaders said the rally would be timed to draw as many participants as possible, culminating their campaign to have the State Investment Board withdraw stock from companies doing business in South Africa.

Capitol security guards who ordinarily lock the doors at 8 p.m. authorized up to 200 demonstrators to stay overnight Monday with sleeping bags, guitars, jugs of hot soup and placards.

A rally also was planned for Friday at Rutgers University, where students from several schools plan to demonstrate outside the university’s board of governor’s meeting.

Representatives from colleges including Columbia University, Princeton University and the University of California at Berkeley are expected at the demonstration outside the meeting Friday, said Joanell Serra of the Rutgers Coalition for Total Divestment.

Students are continuing to camp outside the student center at the state- supported school in New Brunswick, N.J.

Protesters at Columbia University met Monday with university trustees.

″They professed to be moral-minded individuals, but I think they’re really not interested (in divestment),″ said Tanaquil Jones, one of six students at the afternoon meeting.

University spokesman Fred Knubel said the trustees would ask a member of the student protest group, the Coalition for a Free South Africa, to join a committee of trustess and faculty members looking into ″the economic consequences of various approaches to investments″ in South Africa.

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