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`Rebellion' by OJ jury

Los Angeles (Reuter) - Several members of the jury in the O J Simpson murder trial rebelled yesterday over the removal of three sheriff's deputies who had been guarding the panel, according to an official.

The official said 13 members of the panel had initially refused to leave their hotel to go to court. They demanded a note be sent to Judge Lance Ito asking him to come to the hotel and talk to them but were told this was not possible. At least 11 jurors then came to court wearing black to protest against the removal of the deputies, who were removed from their jury assignment late on Thursday on Judge Ito's orders after he interviewed a female black juror who asked to be taken off the panel.

The jury has been sequestered since 11 January - virtual prisoners in a hotel - and racial tensions reportedly are rampant.