INTRODUCTION: Demonstrators in South Africa have called for the release of political detainees following the government's decision to free 39 mercenaries.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 4 DECEMBER, 1981 (REUTERS - KEVIN HAMILTON)
GV PAN DOWN John Vorster building.
SV PULL BACK TO GV Demonstrator with posters.
GV Soldiers in street, second demonstrator takes up signs. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN TO GV Women watching demonstrators with soldiers in background.
SV Woman with placard "My son Keith held 40 days, release all".
GV Youth runs with placard under arm, chased by woman demonstrator.
SV PAN Second woman demonstrator walks along footpath with sign then displays "My sister Barbara held 74 days".
GV Soldiers get into unmarked car.
Background: INTRODUCTION: Demonstrators in South Africa have called for the release of political detainees following the government's decision to free 39 mercenaries. They'd escaped from the Seychelles after an attempt to overthrow the government there, but only five men have been put on trial.
SYNOPSIS: Outside the John Vorster building in Johannesburg, named after a former Prime Minister, the protesters drew attention to what they felt was the injustice of the government's action. Last month, at least 17 trade unionists, labour experts and student leaders were arrested by security police.
They were detained under section 22 of the General Laws Amendment Act, which empowers the authorities to hold people incommunicado and without being charged for up to 14 days. So far this year, about 400 people have been held without being charged under the security laws and more than 100 are believed to be still in detention. On the other hand the mercenaries -- some alleged to be policemen or soldiers on leave -- were released without charged and the five brought to court were then allowed bail.
Opposition and pro-government newspapers have called for all the mercenaries to be tried.