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March To Parliament To Condemn Bushmen Evictions

SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

4 December 2006

Botswana: March To Parliament To Condemn Bushmen Evictions

Around 200 people took to the streets in Botswana's capital Gaborone on Saturday to protest the government's refusal to allow the Bushmen of the Central Kalahari to return to their ancestral homes.

The protest came just 10 days before the High Court of Botswana is due to decide the fate of the Bushmen in their landmark court case (www.survival-international.org/bushmenpresspack).

The protesters carried placards reading "Value Human Life more than Animal Life," "Land, Diamonds to People not Multinationals," and "Let Basarwa Go Home Now".

Akayang Magama, the secretary general of Botswana's opposition party BNF, stated, 'Government is trying to impose on them an alien settlement pattern which makes them recipients of food handouts. It amounts to ethnocide and cultural genocide and is breeding new problems of alcoholism, prostitution and HIV/AIDS infections.'

During the event, a petition was submitted to President Festus Mogae demanding that the Bushmen be allowed to return to their homeland and that they should become co-owners and co-managers of the game reserve.

The Bushman organisation, First People of the Kalahari, applauded the protest. 'We hope this will make the government listen to our cries - we want to go home! We are very excited and happy for this support', they stated in a press release on Friday.

-ENDS-

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