Global condemnations -- ranging from Western Europe to Moscow, Tokyo and Peking -- yesterday met South Africa's declaration of a state of emergency and actions by the government there to stifle dissent by antiapartheid activists.
World reaction included widespread calls for economic sanctions against the white-led administration, although South Africa's premier foreign investors -- the United States, Britain and West Germany -- continued to stand firm against new restrictions.
The 12-member European Community said foreign ministers would consider new sanctions during a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.
EC officials who met Thursday and yesterday in The Hague announced that the member nations will close their embassies in South Africa for one day on Monday, when demonstrations -- banned by Pretoria -- are expected to commemmorate 1976 riots during which hundreds of blacks died.
A Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday the closings were intended as a security precaution. But Christopher Meyer, chief spokesman for the British Foreign Office, said the action also was meant as a gesture of concern.
The U.S. Embassy in South Africa said it would close Monday, along with U.S. consulates there, to take note of the 10th anniversary of the riots that began in the black township of Soweto. Australia also said it would join the move by closing its diplomatic offices in Cape Town and Pretoria.
The U.N. Security Council condemned the state of emergency and called on South Africa to release those arrested under its provisions. The 15-member body also warned it would hold South Africa "fully responsible" for any deaths during the expected June 16 demonstrations.
U.S. Ambassador Herbert Okun, addressing an urgent session of the council requested by African states, said the repressive measures are a "serious mistake" because "what is needed more than ever is peaceful dialogue."
In Athens, the Greek Foreign Ministry said South African oppression and violence "in the end will result in a bloodbath."
The official Soviet news agency Tass said, ". . . Now the rulers in Pretoria count on all-out terror and hope that the emergency situation will help them bring the millions of oppressed people back in line. But these are futile attempts," Tass said.
In Peking, the official New China News Agency said China felt "deep indignation" at the emergency and condemned Pretoria's "barbarous act" of "intensifying their racist rule."
The West German government expressed "deep dismay and concern." The Japanese government voiced "strong concern" that Pretoria "has repeatedly taken oppressive measures in order to quell the riots stemming from apartheid."
Also condeming the move were France, Sweden, Egypt, Spain, several black African nations, and the Organization of African Unity.