Rwanda: Rwandans Demonstrate Against Kagame in Netherlands

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Rwandans Demonstrate Against Kagame

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Friday, 2 April 2010 
Issues of opposition at hand
Angry Rwandans have held a demonstration against President Paul Kagame, demanding an end to dictatorial tendencies. The few dozens from the Rwandan opposition protested yesterday afternoon on the plaza in front of the Parliament in the Netherlands. Reports say they they cried "liberty" and "democracy".

"As it is raining ... most of them are gone," said Rwandan, Lin Muyizere, one of the protesters. He said there were easily seventy people or perhaps even eighty. “Now we are only a small forty…”

"The purpose of our demonstration is to demand that the Rwandan government stops prosecuting the democratic opposition in Rwanda. Let the President of the UDF Victoire Ingabire, who is confronted daily by the Rwandan police, be free. Give Victoire the opportunity and freedom to work," said Muyizere.

But since the Netherlands has good relations with the government of President Paul Kagame, the Dutch government does not seem to move on the issue. The Ingabire case does not seem a not a real concern to the Dutch.

"I do not think the Netherlands should become involved in politics within Rwanda," said the Dutch Parliamentarian Ewout Irrgang (Socialist Party) who visited Rwanda in early January. Irrang had other administrative priorities on Wednesday that prevented him from attending the demonstrations. "Yet the Dutch government could approach the government of Kagame and tell him he should hold proper elections."

Muyizere said authorities in the Netherlands said they cannot take a direct action against the Rwandan government.

“That on a diplomatic level, they try to follow closely the case in Rwanda. We cannot continue alone. We want to work with the other countries of the European Union,” Muyizere said.

In Rwanda, Ingabire is accused of having offended the post-genocide constitution which prohibits actions that could incite a conflict. She has been accosted on the street, interrogated several times and is prohibited from leaving Rwanda. She seeks to challenge President Kagame for office in elections later this year. According to several human rights organizations, the law would actually be used to suppress the opposition.

After a long period in exile in the Netherlands, Victoire Ingabire returned home in January with the goal to participate in the presidential elections in August.
Additional information from Radio Netherlands Worldwid

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