6 Women Activists for Soviet Jewry Jailed, Released in Helsinki

Six women activists for Soviet Jewry were arrested outside of the United States Embassy in Helsinki this morning as they were about to demonstrate there on behalf of the rights of Jews in the USSR, President Ford and Soviet Communist Party Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev were reportedly conferring inside the Embassy when the arrests were made. The women were released later in the day.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed of the incident by a spokesperson for the Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry here. The informant said the activists, led by Doreen Gainsford of Britain, went to Helsinki yesterday to urge world leaders gathering there for the final session of the European Conference on Security and Cooperation to take cognizance of the plight of Jews in the USSR. They also intended to present a letter to the Finnish President, Urho Kekkonen, chairman of the conference.

The women were about to unfurl their banners when a police wagon drew up to the Embassy and removed them from the scene, the informant reported. The Finnish police denied that the demonstrators were under arrest but observers in Helsinki reported that peaceful demonstrators normally would have been undisturbed.

Later in the day another demonstration was held opposite the moorings of the Soviet ship “Mikhail Kalinin” which is Brezhnev’s “floating hotel” during his stay in the Finnish capital. The demonstrators protested the condition of Soviet Jews but no arrests were made. A French woman was reported among the demonstrators. She refused to identify herself for family reasons. Women from 10 European countries and the United States and Canada were also scheduled to demonstrate for Soviet Jews in Helsinki today.

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