JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Archbishop Desmond Tutu and 46 other Anglican clergymen purposely disobeyed new emergency restrictions Thursday by asking President Pieter W. Botha either to free or try detainees.
The regulations Tutu and his colleagues protested forbid any written or spoken appeal for the release of people detained without trial under the emergency imposed last June 12, although the government has said the intent was to block organized protests.
They were imposed Saturday and specifically prohibit any appeal on behalf of detainees to a government official.
"With respect, sir, we believe that the valid response that law-abiding citizens should make to these regulations is openly to disobey them as we are doing now," the black archbishop and the other Anglican clergymen said in an open letter to Botha.
'Out of Christian Conscience'
"We do so deliberately and consciously, out of Christian conscience."
Other regulations in effect under the state of emergency, during which an estimated 25,000 people have been detained for varying periods, restrict reporting on unrest, forbid calls for boycotts and civil disobedience and make "subversive" statements illegal.
In other developments, a mine blew up a minibus in a supermarket parking lot in Newcastle in Natal province, slightly injuring two white children, and at least eight more train coaches were burned in a wave of arson on rail lines for black commuters. An engineer was reported injured.
Officials have blamed nearly 40 bombings in the past 10 months on the African National Congress, the outlawed black guerrilla group fighting South Africa's white government. The African National Congress has refused to claim or deny responsibility.
8 More Train Cars Burned
According to the government's Bureau for Information, eight train cars were set ablaze at four stations Thursday and four trains were stoned. At least 55 coaches have been set afire in four days on commuter lines connecting Johannesburg and Soweto, the huge black township near the city.
State-run South African Transport Services, which operates the trains, calls the attacks "civil unrest" arising from a five-week-old strike by black railway workers. The union denies the strikers are responsible and sources in Soweto say militant youths are responsible.
Tens of thousands of black commuters depend on the trains to get to and from their jobs in Johannesburg.