Thrown Out of Oxford Union for Wearing a T-Shirt
SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
17 October 2005
THROWN OUT FOR WEARING A T-SHIRT: OXFORD UNION DOES A WALTER WOLFGANG
Twenty-five protestors from Survival International were bundled out of the Oxford Union by burly security guards on Friday for 'wearing offensive t-shirts' and 'asking offensive questions.' All were members of the Union or their guests.
Botswana's President Mogae had been invited to give a promotional talk to the Union about the state of democracy in his country, but was met at every turn by students and others protesting at Botswana's persecution of peaceful Kalahari Bushmen, who have been thrown off their ancestral land.
Three Bushmen, including a child, have been shot in recent weeks, and all their leaders have been arrested, imprisoned and charged with 'unlawful assembly'. All the Oxford protestors wore t-shirts reading 'Botswana police shoot Bushmen'.
President Mogae was greeted by protestors as he entered and left the Union building shouting 'Why are you persecuting the Bushmen?' and 'Let the Bushmen go home'. He gave no reply other than a two-fingered salute.
He was also questioned inside the Union chamber, but some of the members questioning him were also forced to leave.
Survival's Director Stephen Corry, who was one of those expelled, said today, 'The Oxford Union says that its guiding principles are 'diversity and outspokeness', and the 'free exchange of ideas'. Instead, it seems to have learnt a few lessons from the Botswana authorities, who routinely expel anyone who dares to challenge them.'
Another protestor, a refugee from Chile, said, 'The behaviour of the Union officials reminded me of General Pinochet's henchmen back home.'
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