MONTREAL - A conference called by a group of well known deniers of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda ended in chaos Saturday in the Canadian city of Montréal. Hundreds of people, many of them Rwandans living in Canada, carried placards and heckled the organisers of the conference.
Police had to be called to maintain order. Protestors who spoke to
The New Times sounded upbeat and excited about their victory over the conference organisers and that they had turned the tables over Genocide deniers.
“They failed miserably in their propaganda, we ended up hijacking the process yet they are the ones who paid for the venue,” said one who only gave his name as Kamasa.
He continued that a Canadian lady who was so furious that her country could tolerate such a conference, repeatedly heckled the speakers that security had to be called.
“She resisted energetically when they tried to use force to remove her, in the end they gave up,” he revealed.
Notable among the protesters was the Canadian Jewish Congress which had urged the Canadian government to block the conference which they said was against Canadian law.
Canada has enacted a law that makes it an offence to deny the Holocaust. The Canadian Jewish Congress wanted the same to be applied on the Genocide against Tutsis. No violence was reported.
French Journalist and author Pierre Pean, Spanish lawyer Jordi Palou-Loverdos and Canadian writer Robin Philipot have in the past been very vocal in denying that the Genocide of Tutsis ever took place. A fourth person, Belgian journalist Peter Verlinden is reported to jumped ship at the last moment.
When the conference was first announced last month, hundreds mobilised to protest against what they termed as a deliberate attempt to minimise the killing of over a million people, and causing mental harm which is a crime against humanity.
The protesters launched media campaigns that drew in people from all walks of life. Over 1000 people signed a petition condemning the planned event. They accuse the four gentlemen in conjunction with Rwandan exiles of attempting to re-write the history of the Genocide.
“I find it unacceptable that there are people who still deny reality”, Callixte Kabayiza, the president of Canadian association that represents families and friends of genocide victims told a Montréal-based news portal, Hobe Montreal.
He said that the timing of the conference, less than one week before Rwanda goes into official mourning for the victims, was an attempt to downplay the Genocide.
The protests against the revisionists in Montréal attracted many journalists and Pierre Pean was quoted by the French news agency, AFP, that he “had not expected the heat”.
Pean is now facing criminal charges in a French court for “racial discrimination and provocation” for his book, “Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs” in which he depicts Tutsis in the most despicable manner.