Protests are always part of the theatre of the UN General Assembly, and the 2017 session has kicked off with a Pan-African group calling on the UN to bar long-serving African leaders from the proceedings.
They called on the UN to, in their words, show “respect for the people of those countries that can’t be called democracies.”
“We are here to protest at the UN because most of our countries like Gabon, Togo, Congo Tchad and the DRC are headed by dictators, and we are sick and tired of the United Nations disrespecting us inviting these people
to speak on issues that they themselves are causing in their countries,” said the CGR Elvine Belinda Andjembe.
Egyptian expats, many of them Coptic Christians, also demonstrated. They have been subject to persecution back home, and they expressed support for Egypt’s current leadership.
“I am here to support president El-Sisi and support Egypt, and to protest against Qatar because Qatar supports terrorism, supports it with money. Terrorism without money cannot continue,” said one man.
Their voices have been expressed, but will they be heard? Inside the UN building, the wheels of diplomacy grind on.
“From inside the UN HQ you can hear the protests. The Agenda goes on: and this Wednesday sees Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, speak. The General Assembly week will host also one of the most awaited meetings: it focuses on a « Global Compact » or system to regulate migration on a global scale, promoted by the UN,” reports euronews’ Michela Monte, from New York.