CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Archbishop Desmond Tutu, his wife and 34 other activists were arrested today as they began a march protesting the alleged beating of clergy and church workers during an anti-apartheid protest.
The Anglican archbishop, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, was angered by reports that police earlier today had severely beaten about 20 protesters from the Western Province Council of Churches.
The clerics and church workers said police used batons and whips to chase them from a security police office in Cape Town, where they had gone to condemn recent detentions of activists.
Later, when Tutu and the other activists left St. George's Cathedral to begin a protest march, they encountered police who formed a human barricade. Police told the demonstrators to disperse, then led them into vans when they refused.
A police spokesman, Brig. Leon Mellet, said all 36 activists will be released but that they will probably face charges under a law prohibiting demonstrations near Parliament.
Tutu's wife, Leah, was among 200 women arrested in Cape Town on Wednesday for staging an unauthorized protest march. The women were released without bail and told to appear in court next month.
Tutu, the first black to lead the Anglican Church in southern Africa, was last arrested in February, 1988, when he led clergymen on a demonstration outside Parliament. No prosecution ensued.
Earlier today, police arrested about 100 college and university teachers for staging an illegal anti-government protest on a pedestrian mall in Cape Town. Police gave the protesters five minutes to disperse, then led them away.