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Thousands Protest Visit of South African President

November 7, 1986

PARIS (AP) _ Thousands of people demonstrated in major French cities Thursday against the visit of South African President P.W. Botha, which is scheduled for next week.

About 7,000 people demonstrated in Paris while smaller groups protested in at least 12 other cities, including Marseille, Nice, Lyon and Nancy.

Botha is to inaugurate a memorial museum in Picardy, north of Paris, to South Africans who died fighting in World War I. The ceremony is to be held on Nov. 11, the anniversary of the armistice that ended the war.

The larger of two demonstrations in Paris, called by the General Confederation of Labor, a communist-backed union, drew at least 5,000 people, police said. A second protest drew between 1,000 and 2,000.

French authorities have stressed that Botha’s visit is not official. However, some African and non-aligned nations have protested.

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