Refugees protest under coronavirus lockdown in Rwanda

KIGALI, RWANDA (AP) — Rwanda’s coronavirus lockdown has led to a protest by refugees and migrants who were relocated to the country last year from crowded detention camps in Libya, witnesses said.

They gathered in their camp on Wednesday to organise a demonstration against the lockdown “but authorities came in quickly and stopped it”, Elise Villechalane, spokeswoman with the United Nations (UN) refugee agency, told The Associated Press.

Nearly 300 refugees and migrants are living in the Gashora emergency transit centre outside the capital, Kigali. Rwanda took them in under an agreement signed with the UN and African Union after repeated allegations of dire conditions in Libya’s detention centres including beatings, rapes and other abuses.

Some refugees had been approved to move to countries such as Norway or Canada — the first large group was resettled in February — but virus-related travel restrictions have stranded the others for now.