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Anti-Apartheid Demonstrators Pelt Thatcher’s Car

August 1, 1986 GMT

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) _ Anti-apartheid protesters pelted Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s car with eggs and tomatoes Friday at the Commonwealth Games, which more than half the teams boycotted in protest of her South Africa policy.

The Tory Reform Group, to the left of Mrs. Thatcher in her governing Conservative Party, joined those pressuring the prime minister to reverse herself and approve tough sanctions against South Africa at a meeting of seven Commonwealth nations next week.

Five of the 22 Cabinet ministers belong to the reform group, but they were not consulted about a statement it issued urging ″substantial sanctions″ against South Africa, said Iain Picton, the group’s chairman.

About 500 demonstrators awaited Mrs. Thatcher’s limousine at Meadowbank stadium. Several flung eggs and tomatoes. The games, held every four years, began two weeks ago and end Saturday.

Protesters chanted and waved banners declaring ″Black Blood on Thatcher’s Hands″ and ″Free Mandela Now.″ Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress guerrilla movement, has been imprisoned in South Africa since 1962.

Police kept the demonstrators behind a barrier and reported one arrest.

Scattered jeers greeted Mrs. Thatcher in the stadium. She ignored them.

During a tour of the athletes’ village earlier, she said: ″The games are going extremely well. Everyone seems to be very happy. It is a great shame all the athletes could not come and I wish they had been left to make up their own minds.″

Of the 58 countries and territories eligible, 32 withdrew to protest Mrs. Thatcher’s opposition to stringent sanctions against South Africa’s government.

Boycotters included India and most African and Caribbean countries in the worldwide association of Britain and its former colonies.

Canadian high jumper Nathaniel Crooks told reporters after Mrs. Thatcher left that she should have heeded demands by Edinburgh’s socialist-contr olled city council that she not visit the competition.

″Her attitude toward sanctions has wrecked the Commonwealth Games,″ he said. ″No one here wants to meet her. Only a few people turned out because of curiosity.″

In London, the Tory Reform Group said Britain’s ″economic, strategic and political interests all require us to impose substantial sanctions against South Africa.″


The group said it believed the United States and West Germany would follow suit if Britain, the biggest foreign investor, imposed tough sanctions on the former colony.

″On this issue the British prime minister is perceived by the whole world as holding the leading position,″ the statement said.

If Mrs. Thatcher holds out, the Tory Reform Group said, African and other Third World countries may boycott British goods.

Officials have indicated Mrs. Thatcher will go along with limited new measures, but one said privately Friday that they would fall far short of eight proposals to be considered at the meeting of seven Commonwealth leaders starting Sunday in London.

The list ranges from a ban on air links, which would cost state-owned British Airways millions of dollars, to such symbolic gestures as bans on new investment that already has dried up after nearly two years of black unrest in South Africa.

″It is going to be a very difficult meeting,″ the British official said of the three-day conference of Britain, Canada, Australia, the Bahamas, India, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In Washington, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 15-2 for snctions that include banning new U.S. investment and an end to landing rights for South African aircraft. The proposed legislation also prohibits imports of South African coal and uranium and sets up machinery for strengthening sanctions next year if there is no progress toward an end to apartheid.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole indicated a vote in the full Senate was possible late next week.

Norman Tebbit, chairman of Mrs. Thatcher’s Conservative Party, said Thursday night that Britain was prepared for new moves.

″If necessary, I am sure that in concert with our European partners there is a possibility of other things we could do to indicate our concern and our disapproval (of apartheid),″ he said.

A Commonwealth summit last October that set a mid-year deadline for South Africa’s white leaders either to make major concessions to the black majority or face punitive sanctions.

Britain wants to defer action until a meeting late in September of the 12- nation European Common Market that is to consider banning imports of South African iron, coal and steel.