General News Tue, 18 Mar 2008

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Ghana to deport naked protesters

A group of Liberian women refugees who have held naked protests by the roadside are to be deported from Ghana, a minister has told the BBC. Hundreds of the women were arrested on Monday and taken away from a refugee camp in 10 buses, witnesses say.

They were protesting at plans to send them home with $100 - they demand $1,000 and to be resettled in the West.

Stripping naked is a traditional form of protest amongst poor and powerless women in Africa.

Interior Minister Kwamena Bartels said that the Liberian war had ended. He denied it was forced repatriation.

He said they had broken local laws by not informing the police of their protest.

"When women strip themselves naked and stand by a major highway, that is not a peaceful demonstration," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

He said they would be deported later this week.

Some 27,000 Liberians are in Ghana after years of conflict at home.

Liberia's civil war ended in 2003

But the civil war ended in 2003.

Some of the refugees told the BBC they had been beaten by the Ghanaian police at Buduburam camp, west of the capital, Accra.

They refuse to be integrated into local society and say they will continue protesting at the UN refugee agency's offer.

"$100 is not anything you can start life with. We are all lost," one woman said.

Source: BBC

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