Rwanda: Police arrest protestors
Kigali – Police officers on Thursday morning bundled up several people on police vans in front of the US embassy after it was learnt that they were intending to demonstrate, RNA reveals.
At around 8:30am a disorganized group of people started converging at the US embassy which is located in the upper class Kacyiru area – just a few yards from the Office of the President and the Police headquarters.
It is not clear why these people were trying to meet at the embassy, but RNA has been told there was planned to be an opposition demonstration.
Police spokesman Eric Kayiranga told RNA that information surfaced within the security agencies suggesting there was going to be an “illegal assembly”.
“We had information that some people were planning an unlawful gathering,” said Kayiranga. “We are interrogating them…we shall let you know who they are and what they were thinking.”
Among those rounded up by about a dozen Police officers included the embattled Green Party leader Frank Habineza and his deputy, but they were not part of the protestors. Instead the two were coincidentally at the US embassy. They were released later after about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, it emerged Thursday morning that troubled opposition faction of PS Imberakuri party controlled by Bernard Ntaganda was organizing a demonstration for Thursday but has not been seen since Wednesday night. The group sought permission from Kigali city, which did not reportedly respond to the letters written.
On Wednesday, Ntaganda informed coalition partners in the Green Party and FDU-Inkingi that “silence means acceptance” for the demonstration to continue. It had been planned to start from the Office of the Prime Minister, on to Parliament and later the Ministry of local government.
Available information indicates the protest was to be against the National Electoral Commission – which they accuse of being partisan. The three also claim they have been denied by government to register as political parties – and thereby blocking them from vying for the presidency.
The Commission starts to receive candidacy applications on Thursday for those who want to stand in the August elections.
By press time, Ntaganda had not returned our calls as the phone was off. Party colleagues say they have not heard from him since Wednesday night.