Report: Rwandan guards harass journalists in Amsterdam

Kagame Maxima
Dutch Queen Maxima with Rwanda President Paul Kagame. Oct. 5, 2015 (photo: Office of the President of Rwanda)Dutch Queen Maxima with Rwanda President Paul Kagame. Oct. 5, 2015 (photo: Office of the President of Rwanda)

Journalists that were invited to an event attended by Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Amsterdam have reported being denied access, with some claiming they were attacked by Rwandan security guards. The incident took place on Saturday at the RAI convention center, which was hosting a "Rwanda Day" celebration for nationals from that country living in Europe. Groups protesting the Rwandan president came out in droves to confront him about allegations of human rights violations, his harsh treatment of political opponents. He was also depicted as a war criminal. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima hosted President Kagame at their home in Wassenaar on Monday to talk about possible loans to the poor country. He later met with Agriculture Minister Sharon Dijksma, and he is scheduled to meet Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders on Tuesday. Dutch journalist Anneke Verbraeken, a critic of Kagame’s policies, says she was roughed up outside the building when she wanted to take a picture of the Kagame supporters, reported Rwandan guards working outside the RAI took away her smartphone, she claims. She is afraid that the information on her phone may be damaging to the people of Rwanda. Peter Verlindin, of Flemish Belgium's VRT-Journaal, also says he was threatened and photographed by Rwandan guards, while other journalists and Kagame opponents were denied entrance to the RAI, according to NOS. The Dutch journalists' association was critical of the behaviour, saying that it was not in line with the norms of the Netherlands. NVJ says it is investigating the incidents. "Rwanda must be a nation that stands tall. We are on the path of recreating our nation," Kagame said at the Rwanda Day event. "We welcome all of you home. Our nation is no longer too small to deny anyone a home as it was once the case."