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De Beers' high-profile opening of a jewellery exhibition in Italy was marred today by pro-Bushmen protests by Italian Senators.
Two Senators joined a large group of protesters to call attention to the forced eviction of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen from the CKGR. The huge diamond deposits known to be in the CKGR are widely thought to be the real reason for the eviction – a fact which has been extensively covered in the Italian press. Both De Beers and the Botswana government will be acutely embarrassed by the demonstration.
Also timed to coincide with the opening of De Beers' diamonds exhibition was a large advertisement in La Repubblica, a national Italian newspaper, publicising the Botswana government's brutal treatment of the Gana and Gwi.
The protest and advert come just two weeks after Botswana President Festus Mogae's trip to Italy to promote investment by Italian businesses.
Survival International's Director, Stephen Corry, said today, 'There is so much concern and outrage felt in Europe and across the world at the government's persecution of the Bushmen that these protests will continue to grow. If President Mogae really wants to repair his country's increasingly shabby image, he must allow the Bushmen to return to their homes, rather than engage in PR trips around the world.'
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