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Anti-U.S. Protests Mount; Flags and Effigies Burned

April 17, 1986|From Times Wire Services

Growing anger over the U.S. attack on Libya sparked worldwide protests Wednesday that erupted into violence as demonstrators burned American flags and effigies of President Reagan in Pakistan and attacked U.S. facilities in several capitals.

The list of nations condemning the United States for bombing the North African nation grew longer, but offered few new surprises as America's traditional enemies and Third World nations added their voices to swell the outcry against Washington.

Malaysia, Suriname, Vietnam, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Tanzania issued statements of condemnation.

The Philippine government of President Corazon Aquino said only that it could not endorse the U.S. strike.

Nonaligned Action

In New Delhi, Libya urged members of the Nonaligned Movement to sever economic and political ties with the United States.

Libyan Foreign Secretary Kamal Hassan Mansour called on the 101 nonaligned nations "to take positive steps to sever economic and political links with the United States." He contended that the United States should lose its permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council as a result of the attack.

Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the current chairman of the movement, opened the conference by reiterating the group's support for Libya.

"In violation of international law, its (Libya's) sovereignty has been transgressed, its integrity impugned," said Gandhi, who condemned the U.S. attack as "unjustifiable."

Violent protests and threats against U.S. citizens forced authorities in several capitals to tighten security against possible reprisals.

Reagan Burned in Effigy

Pakistani protesters burned Reagan in effigy and set fire to American flags in front of the U.S. consulate in Lahore, about 150 miles southeast of Islamabad. Some demonstrators threw rocks at the building, but no injuries were reported.

The angry crowd then heavily damaged the American Express travel agency, shattering its windows and doors and breaking furniture inside. Police arrested four students after the attack.

Two other anti-American demonstrations were held in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, where opposition speakers addressed angry, slogan-chanting crowds.

In the Middle East, Egypt, a U.S. ally hostile to Libya, made the surprising move of offering medical assistance to its North African neighbor.

Plainclothes police dispersed about 50 people who tried to stage an anti-American demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Hostage Reported Slain

In Beirut, a previously unknown group claimed that it killed a British hostage in retaliation for Britain's role as the home base for the U.S. planes used in the air strike against Libya.

"We ask the authorities to go to the sports stadium and receive the body of one of the British hostages that we executed," said a statement from the Islamic Liberation Organization anonymously telephoned to the Christian radio station, Voice of Lebanon.

But police and Muslim militias, who searched Beirut's devastated sports stadium, reported finding no body. The statement did not name the Briton reportedly killed.

In Muslim West Beirut, several hundred pro-Iranian Shia Muslims marched to the devastated former U.S. Embassy blown up by a suicide driver in 1983 and burned an American flag.

'Death to America'

"Down with Reagan . . . Death to America and Israel . . . Allahu Akbar (God is Great)," the marchers chanted during the demonstration organized by the pro-Iranian Hezbollah (Party of God).

In West Germany, about 3,000 people marched through the center of Munich to the U.S. Consulate.

A bomb threat prompted the evacuation of 800 people from two American military housing areas in Ludwigshafen, about 40 miles south of Frankfurt, and security was tightened around U.S. installations and airports.

Another 100 anti-American youths tried to block police checks designed to keep terrorists from entering West Berlin. Police arrested 80 people.

Demonstrators shouting "Reagan is a murderer!" blocked doors on subway trains arriving from East Berlin so police could not check passengers.

Protests in Stockholm

In Sweden, about 75 protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm shouting slogans and throwing stones and eggs, and some entered the compound and broke three windows before being chased away by police.

"It is the first time we have had rocks on the windows here since the Vietnam days," said a source inside the embassy.

In Italy, demonstrating students ripped an American flag during a protest in downtown Rome.

In Brussels, Spain strongly criticized the U.S. raid at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting.

They said the Spanish ambassador spoke "in really tough language" at a meeting of the North Atlantic Council against the American attack, while most other U.S. allies simply drew attention to statements of concern by their governments.

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