3000 Call for Sharansky’s Release
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3000 Call for Sharansky’s Release

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The wife of Anatoly Sharansky led more than 3000 people to the Soviet Embassy this afternoon to deliver a letter appealing for the release of her husband, held in a Moscow jail after being accused of espionage against the Soviet Union.

Mrs. Avital Sharansky, who arrived here from the United States, was accompanied to the Embassy gates by leaders of Anglo-Jewry, British politicians and show business personalities. Among them were the Chief Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Jakobovits; Lord Byers, chairman of the Liberal Party; and actors Janet Suzman and Edward Fox.

The crowd, the largest of its kind since the Yom Kippur War, took more than an hour to pass the Embassy after walking from Hyde Park where Mrs. Sharansky released a flock of white doves and prayers were said for the safety of her husband and other “Prisoners of Zion.” Among the marchers were contingents from large provincial communities such as Manchester and Liverpool, as well as smaller ones such as Hull.


Organized by the National Council for Soviet Jewry, the demonstration was supported by all strands of the Soviet Jewry campaign and of Anglo-Jewry at large, from the left-wing Zionist youth movements to the ultra-Orthodox. Before the marchers set off from Hyde Park, Lubavitcher youths invited passersby to put on “tefillin.”

As the procession slowly passed the Soviet Embassy, young men in prayer shawls blew the shofar, while marchers shouted slogans and sang Hebrew songs. Mrs. June Jacobs, chairman of the National Council, told the crowd that the Soviet authorities were threatening to charge Sharansky with crimes carrying the severest penalties and that his life could be in danger.

The Council also issued an open letter to Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev declaring that today’s march was not “anti-Soviet.” It claimed that an anti-Semitic campaign was being conducted in some of the Soviet media and that this had led to the arrest of Sharansky and others who were completely innocent under Soviet law but had no way of proving their innocence.

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