KIGALI, Scores of Rwandan youth Thursday took to the street to protest against a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary titled “Rwanda’s Untold Story” which was aired on October 1.
The demonstration was jointly organized by the Association of Genocide Survivor Students (AERG), Association of former students survivors of Genocide (GAERG), Kigali Youth Forum, and Forum for Rwanda University Students Assembly (FAGER).
Carrying banners with messages denouncing the one-hour documentary, the youth marched from Kacyiru, Kigali suburb to the parliament before proceeding to BBC offices in Kigali’s Kimironko suburb.
In their protest letter presented to Parliament, the youth asked the Rwandan government to cancel the BBC operating license in the country.
The petition was signed by heads of students associations and youth leaders, comprising mostly of genocide survivors.
The protesters demand a full withdrawal and banning of the documentary and call on the BBC to issue an official apology, not only to Rwandans but also to the world.
“We demand the government of Rwanda to withdraw BBC’s license to broadcast in Rwanda,” they said in the petition.
The documentary which was aired on BBC 2 did not go well with genocide scholars and survivors describing it as revisionist.
“It should be banned. They know the truth, if they cannot report the truth, then they should let Rwandans tell their own story,” Longin Gatanazi, the chairperson of FAGER said. “No one knows our history better than us Rwandans.”
Anita Mukankusi, another protestor and genocide survivor, said the documentary was biased and intended to deny genocide.
The BBC documentary, she said, was an attempt to disrespect the memories of our parents and relatives who perished in the genocide.
BBC is undermining efforts to build a peaceful and reconciled Rwandan community, she added.
According to Jean de Dieu Mirindi, the national coordinator of AERG, the documentary was an insult to Rwandans still suffering from the effects of the genocide, including trauma.
Speaker of Rwandan Parliament Donatile Mukabalisa, promised to treat the youth petition seriously.
The documentary said that only 200,000 Tutsis were killed in the genocide.