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U.S., Soviet Human Chains Link Hopes of Peace

December 06, 1987|WILLIAM TUOHY | Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW — A human chain formed by an estimated 2,000 Soviet citizens delivered a message in support of this week's summit conference in Washington to the steps of the American Embassy here Saturday.

The message, in a rainbow-colored capsule addressed to President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, was accepted by diplomat Steven Pifer--who smiled and waved it for the news cameras.

He said it would be forwarded to Washington.

In a similar demonstration in Washington, news agencies reported that about 400 people, representing a dozen groups favoring the arms control pact that Reagan and Gorbachev will sign, linked hands to form a "Bridge to Peace," starting near the White House and extending toward the Soviet Embassy several blocks away.

The message delivered to the embassy here in Moscow was from the Soviet Peace Committee. It welcomed the treaty on intermediate-range nuclear forces to be signed Tuesday and added:

"We believe it should be followed by other measures to free our planet completely from nuclear weapons."

Passed Hand to Hand

Many participants in what the Soviet sponsors called the "File for Peace" were members of the Komsomol, the young Communists' organization, and they passed the capsule from hand to hand from the Soviet Friendship House to both the Supreme Soviet, which is this country's Parliament, and to the American Embassy.

A young woman, who said she attended an English-language school, held a banner declaring in English: "My Family in Favor of Stopping the Arms Race."

The "File for Peace" was supported by the government and given permission to take to the streets.

It was uncertain, however, whether authorities would allow Soviet Jewish citizens, protesting refusal by the government to issue exit visas, to hold a demonstration they have called for today to coincide with similar protests scheduled in Washington and Israel.

Linked Hands in Washington

In Washington, United Press International reported that the "Bridge to Peace" began at Lafayette Square, across from the White House, and ended a block or so away. The demonstrators linked hands to symbolize the meeting between the superpower leaders.

Heading the line were international representatives of Women for a Meaningful Summit, many of them legislators in their nations, UPI reported.

Sylvia Hernandez, a senator from Mexico, described the Reagan-Gorbachev summit as "a beginning," UPI said.

The news agency reported that groups of children were sent to deliver bunches of roses at the fences of the White House and of the Soviet Embassy. White House guards refused to accept the flowers, UPI said, and the children left them on the ground. A groundskeeper later took them away.

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