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Panthers Demand Release of Comrades; Say Fracas Caused by Matzpen

Ninety-nine persons were arrested but 33 were freed by noon today following six hours of demonstrations, fire bombings and battles with police by self-styled Black Panthers in the streets of Jerusalem last night. Additional releases were expected later today. The demonstrations and fighting ended at midnight by which time 25 persons were injured, including ten policemen none seriously. Three Molotov cocktails were thrown one of them injuring a young man. About 20 shop windows were smashed along Ben Yehudah Street, one of Jerusalem’s main thoroughfares. The street fighting began late yesterday afternoon when police tried to disperse Panthers who were spreading their demonstrations beyond the limits specified in their permit. The Panthers resisted and police used force. The demonstrations were the most serious to date by the slum youths, mostly of North African and Asian origin. The Panthers are protesting slum conditions, poverty and what they charge is discrimination against Oriental Jews in employment, housing and education. This afternoon, some 300 Panthers and sympathizers gathered outside police headquarters here to protest the detention of their brethren. A Panther leader, Rafi Abergil, warned that unless they were all released by 8:30 tomorrow morning, “thousands” of Panthers would stage a hunger strike outside Magistrate Court. Panthers blamed Matzpen, a splinter pro-terrorist group for the disturbances.

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