Rwanda president's visit to Chicago draws protests

June 11, 2011 7:24:16 PM PDT
A visit by the president of Rwanda drew protests in downtown Chicago Saturday.

Rev. Jesse Jackson introduced President Paul Kagame at a Rwanda Day event in downtown Chicago. Kagame spoke to the audience in his native tongue.The event was intended as a celebration of Rwandan culture, along with the economic and social progress being made in the African nation.

Rwanda was the scene of a genocide in 1994. Supporters say Kagame has united the country.

Opponents say, however, that he's responsible for the deaths of millions of people in Rwanda and the Congo. They claim he's jailed political opposition leaders and banned an independent media.

Kagame's former chief of staff Theogene Rudasingwa also joined the protest in Chicago Saturday, saying, "The only place we can demonstrate is here in Chicago. Because we are not allowed to do that. When we try it in the country we are put in jail, or we are sent into exile or we are killed."

The protestors want the international community to hold Kagame responsible for the crimes they say he's committed.

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