Next President’s Forum Speaker Tear-gassed at a Protest in Nairobi – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Next President’s Forum Speaker Tear-gassed at a Protest in Nairobi

Along with religious groups and human rights activists, Dr. Wangari Maathai Sc.D.'94, P '94, P '96 gathered on April 1 at Uhuru Park in Nairobi to protest against government leaders who had proposed a Cabinet of 44 members.

The Nobel Peace Prize Winner was one of more than 100 lobbyists who were tear-gassed and dispersed by police as they tried to gather to press for a Cabinet of 24 or less members. Pressing for a smaller cabinet, the lobbyists believe a reduced cabinet would reunite the country as well as internal refugees. Disparate from the lobbyists' belief, the government coalition argues that each community and region must be represented.

Shortly after planting a peace tree in Uhuru Park, the group had intended to provide President Kibaki with a letter conveying their criticism, but the convoy encountered resistance from police. As they prepared for their march to the Office of the President, police informed them that their permit did not authorize such a procession. The lobbyists were told to disband peacefully or else they would take action. At that time, Maathai and other lobbyists were tear-gassed by police forces, bringing their endeavor to halt.

On Thursday, April 24, Dr. Maathai will conclude the President's Forum series for the spring 2008. She is the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, founder of The Green Belt Movement and the mother of a Hobart graduate and a William Smith graduate. As an international authority on sustainable development, human rights and activism, Maathai has single-handedly altered the view of women and the environment around the world.

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