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Homophobic Dictator Mugabe
Hunted and Haunted in Rome

Compiled By GayToday

Rome, Italy--President Robert Mugabe's visit to Rome was disrupted by a noisy protest outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in the early hours of June 13.

Acting on a tip off that Mugabe had moved from the Excelsior Hotel, after journalists discovered that he was a guest there, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell flew to Rome and staged a loud, feisty protest outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in Via Virgilio shortly after midnight.
African Dictator Robert Mugabe

"I wanted to disturb Mugabe's sleep and remind him that he will get no rest while he continues to abuse human rights" said Tatchell. "Its wrong that he can come to Italy in defiance of the EU travel ban and do what he likes with impunity".

Tatchell made a loud racket outside the Zimbabwean Embassy until almost 1am. The noise could be heard in all the surrounding streets. He banged on the Embassy's doors, slammed its heavy metal knockers, rang the emergency night buzzer, and shouted up to the Embassy's higher level residential floors - where the Ambassador lives and where Mugabe was reportedly staying. Tatchell warned Mugabe:

"Wake up President Mugabe. You will get no sleep as long as you continue to murder, torture and maim your own people.You can run but you cannot hide.the world is watching.One day you will be arrested and put on trial, just like Slobodan Milosevic".

Mr Tatchell also held up a large placard, written in Italian: "Arresto Mugabe per tortura" (Arrest Mugabe for torture).

He was supported in his protest by Grace Kwinjeh, EU representative for the Zimbabwean opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change.

Tatchell's shouting and banging bought bleary-eyed Zimbabwean officials to the Embassy's windows. After a while, these officials began to get dressed. It looked like they were going to come down stairs and it was feared might attack Tatchell and Kwinjeh (the President's thugs assaulted two journalists earlier in the week for merely asking questions and taking photographs - and the Italian police did nothing to stop them).

Having made their point, and fearing for their safety, Tatchell and Kwinjeh left the Embassy shortly before 1am.

Mugabe was in Rome, ostensibly to attend this week's four-day UN Food Conference. But apart from a brief appearance on Monday, he has not attended any conference sessions.

"There is incredibly strict secrecy and security surrounding his movements", said Tatchell. "He obviously fears protests and has gone to ground".

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
Zimbabwe: Government Blaming Woes on Homosexuals

Peter Tatchell: Outrage in Action

Zimbabwe: 12 Brave Gay Activists March

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OutRage! London: Robert Mugabe
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"Mugabe seems to be exploiting the diplomatic immunity of the UN Conference to evade an EU-imposed ban on his travel to Europe. His presence in Rome defies the spirit of the EU sanctions agreed in March".

"There is no point the EU agreeing a travel ban if Mugabe is free to evade it by using the excuse that he is attending a UN conference. In reality, he is almost certainly exploiting the UN to indulge his penchant for fine restaurants and luxury shopping.

"The EU sanctions are a worthless fraud. Mugabe should be arrested, rather than being feted by the UN and given the full protection of the Italian state", said Tatchell.

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