Brussels, 23 April 2008 (FH) - A controversial demonstration organized Tuesday by Rwandan associations in Brussels, Belgium, was banned by the Mayor of the city for "safety reasons ".

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However, police allowed a gathering of about 30 people in front of the courthouse, which they did not consider as a protest demonstration.

The members of the Rwandan Civil Society in Exile (SOCIRWA) had planned the demonstration to commemorate massacres of thousands of ethnic Hutus in Kibeho, Southern Rwanda, allegedly by the army of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) between 17 and 25 April 1995.

They also wanted to show solidarity with the victims (Twas, Tutsis and Hutus) massacred by Rwandan criminals since October 1990 to date.

October 1990 is the date of the first military offensive by the pro-Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), then a rebellion in exile, on the Rwandan territory.

The RPF is the party of President Paul Kagame, currently in power in Rwanda since the end of the 1994 genocide, which resulted in more than 800, 000 deaths according to the UN, mainly ethnic Tutsis.

The Rwandan Community of Belgium (CRB) "vehemently" condemned the protest, describing it as a false commemoration. "This is all the more shocking because the organisers of the protest are known for their proximity and their sympathy with the Hutu power, which planned and carried out the genocide of Tutsis", adds CRB statement.

According to the CRB, these organizations use the theory of the "double genocide" to convey a "radical negationism".

On 6 April, another planned protest that was described as "negationist" by association genocide survivors (IBUKA) and the CRB, organized to mark the 14th commemorations of the genocide, was also banned by the Mayor.

About 60 demonstrators nevertheless gathered that day, but were arrested by the Brussels police.

The spokesperson for the Mayor said that the organizers SOCIRWA were the same as those who tried to hold unauthorized protest of 6 April. Among them was the distinguished activist Joseph Matata of the Center to Fight against Impunity and Injustice in Rwanda (CLIIR).


© Hirondelle News Agency