WASHINGTON (AP) _ Fifteen people were arrested Tuesday when they tried to deliver 30,000 keys and 20,000 letters to the South African Embassy asking that Pretoria release black children imprisoned in South Africa, police said.

The nine men and six women were charged with violating a city ordinance against protesting within 500 feet of an embassy, police said.

They carried large fishbowls filled with the symbolic keys to cities supporting their cause and placed boxes of letters at the embassy doorstep.

Most of the people were released shortly after their arrest, either on personal recognizance or after paying a $50 fine at the police station.

Organized by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and the Africa Fund, the demonstrators were asking for the release of 150 children who remain jailed by the apartheid government of South Africa, according to Kath Delaney, a spokeswoman for the groups.

She said the children are among some 10,000 black children who have been jailed in recent years.