Rights campaigners arrested as Kagame visits Paris

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Rights campaigners arrested as Kagame visits Paris

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In France, around 25 media rights campaigners were arrested on Tuesday outside the Paris hotel of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Police began removing the demonstrators who staged a sit-down protest denouncing press freedom in Rwanda.

The African leader is in France for a two-day official visit. He held talks on Tuesday with French President Nicholas Sarkozy.

“It’s absolutely impossible to say anything at all about Mr. Kagame, including in France,” said Jean-Francois Juilliard, the head of Reporters without Borders outside the Ritz hotel.

“He’s a dictator who is all-powerful against whom one cannot say anything. And this is proof.”

Relations between the two countries have been strained since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. France has been accused of aiding the then Hutu-dominated government as it massacred up to 800,000 Rwandans, mainly ethnic Tutsis.

That administration was overthrown by Kagame.

Meanwhile human rights groups accused Kagame of jailing opponents and limiting press freedom since assuming power.