WASHINGTON -- Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., and two college officials were arrested Friday at the South African Embassy, capping the third straight week of protests against apartheid.
Ford was handcuffed and driven away from the embassy in a police paddy wagon along with James Breedan, a dean at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and Robert Brown, a senior research fellow at Howard University in Washington.
All three men were charged with unlawfully congregating in front of an embassy with the intent to demonstrate.
To date, 58 people, including 13 members of Congress, have been arrested at the diplomatic compound since Thanksgiving Eve.
District of Columbia congressional delegate Walter Fauntroy and two others launched the demonstrations Nov. 21 by staging a sit-in at the embassy. The protests resumed the following Monday and have continued every week day since then.
The almost-daily rallies in Washington have sparked other protests nationwide that have resulted in scores of arrests.
The three arrests Friday came as some 200 people rallied at the diplomatic compound, carrying signs and chanting slogans against South Africa's system of racial separation known as apartheid.
TransAfrica, the black foreign policy lobby that organized the Free South Africa Movement protests, vows to continue to the demonstrations until South Africa releases black dissidents who are jailed in the white-ruled nation.
The protesters also want the South African government to hold a constitutional convention with opposition leaders to eliminate apartheid and share power with South Africa's black majority.