Pygmies speak up

Published: Tuesday 31 May 2005

How long will the protest rema Bitterness is the only emotion the 'civilised world' has evoked in them. Nearly 2,500 pygmies, subsistence hunter-gatherers of the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (drc), recently travelled nearly 100 kilometres from their forest homes to the town of Isiro to protest killings and abuses inflicted upon them by other ethnic and militia groups. They came from drc's Mambasa, Ndwuye, Mugbere and Wamba regions. "We also exist, the pygmies", "Justice, equality and rights for the pygmies" and "Pygmy killers must be brought to justice...", cried their banners. It was the first demonstration of its kind in drc.

Almost 5,000 residents of Isiro, local officials and politicians joined the "march for peace" organised by a Catholic priest to help the pygmies.

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