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Cablegate: Peaceful Demonstrations Nationwide in Support Of

VZCZCXYZ0018
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLGB #0810 3241528
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191528Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5757
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0062
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0338
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 0437
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 1250
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2025
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0577
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0351
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 1357
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0610

UNCLAS KIGALI 000810

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM RW
SUBJECT: PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS NATIONWIDE IN SUPPORT OF
ARRESTED OFFICIAL

REF: KIGALI 796

1. (U) Following nine days of demonstrations in front of
the German Embassy in Kigali concerning the arrest of Chief
of Presidential Protocol Rose Kabuye in Stuttgart (with
occasional protest marches in front of the Deutsche Welle
radio station complex and the European Union offices, also in
Kigali) (reftel), large nationwide demonstrations occured on
November 19 to protest her arrest. Embassy officers
estimated that crowds lining the residential streets around
the German Embassy site likely numbered in excess of 50,000
persons. Crowds traveling the roads to the Deutsche Welle
complex on the edge of Kigali probably numbered several
hundred thousand. Marches occured in other towns and hamlets
throughout the country -- Ambassador saw about ten thousand
persons gathered in the small town of Ruhengeri in the north
of the country, for example.

2. (SBU) The nationwide marches were uniformly peaceful and
orderly, with security forces closely monitoring the progress
of the assembled crowds. Ostensibly called by local NGOs and
media houses, the marches were in fact organized by the
government and ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF).
Instructions went out from the central authorities to all
administrative levels of the government to assemble their
populations for the marches. Some residents of outlying
districts of Kigali assembled as early as 5 am, with others
gathering later in the morning. Some marchers carried signs
denouncing the German and French governments (the German
arrest made on behalf of French authorities), and a few
chanted slogans, but most simply walked quietly to their
assigned assembly points. Near the German Embassy, a reggae
band entertained the crowds as they swelled throughout the
mid-morning hours. Heavy late morning rains brought the
demonstrations in the capital to a close before noon. Other
areas of the country held marches later in the day. Local
media, including government television and radio, offered
extensive coverage of the demonstrations. Government
officials held a press conference in Kigali in the afternoon
to highlight the demonstrations and express support for
Kabuye.

3. (SBU) Mission understands that Rose Kabuye has in fact
been transferred to France on November 19 (GOR officials tell
us she boarded an airplane for Paris in the afternoon) to be
examined by the two French judges in the case. Rwandan
officials here assert that Kabuye will clearly show that she
had no role in the shooting down of the President Habyarimana
jet in April 1994, the event which touched off the genocide.
One of the most prominent of the witnesses to the alleged
Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) shootdown of the jet, a former
RPA officer, has reportedly recanted his testimony, a
happenstance which must hearten Rwandan officials. In the
interim, we expect that the GOR will continue its campaign
against the arrest of Kabuye, having demonstrated today that
it can if it wishes produce large crowds of Rwandans on short
notice in support of its policies and personnel.
SYMINGTON

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