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Extreme-right protest disturbs unveiling of Mandela statue


16:18, September 26, 2012

THE HAGUE, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- The unveiling of a Nelson Mandela statue in the Hague was disturbed by members of an extreme-right group on Tuesday.

Former Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu unveiled a statue of his compatriot, anti-apartheid fighter and former President of South Africa Mandela when extreme-right rioters started to shout and threw smoke bombs.

According to local reports, the protesters wanted to draw attention to the plight of white farmers in South African society. The police made three arrests.

The unveiling had started peacefully with a speech by Ben Knapen, outgoing Dutch Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation.

"This statue not only honors Nelson Mandela's great and selfless efforts on behalf of human dignity," he said.

The initiative for the statue was taken seven years ago by Dutch politicians in the Hague. The result was a large bronze statue, made by artist Arie Schippers.

Tutu, who was invited to the Netherlands by the Medical Knowledge Institute, said his week-long visit to the Netherlands would be his last.

The 80-year-old Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South-Africa after the end of apartheid.

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