Musicians’ demonstration met with violence and arrests
|On 8 November 2012, a peaceful demonstration was organised in the capital Yaounde by Cameroonian musicians who wanted to protest against the way royalties to artists are being distributed in the country. The demonstration was allegedly violently repressed by more than 1,000 policemen, and the musicians union leader Roméo Dika stands accused for having prepared an insurrection.
More than 500 artists including 85-year-old Nzie Anne Marie and the president of the musicians trade union SYCAMU, Roméo Dika, were confronted with tear gas and riot trucks and allegedly dragged to the ground and beaten with batons and fists.
63 artists were thrown into jail and were only released after more than seven hours of detention. Others were transported in trucks and locked up for more than 10 hours.
The union members of SYCAMU protested against that the Cameroon Music Corporation (CMC) continues to collect royalties instead of the Cameroon Society of Musical Art (SOCAM). 40 million CFA francs is said to have been paid to CMC recently on instructions from the Director of the Civil Cabinet (DCC) to the President of the Republic, Martin Belinga Eboutou and the Delegate General for National Security (DGSN) Mbarga Nguele Martin.
As no notification of a ban of the demonstration had been sent, artists walked about three kilometers. At approximately 25 metres away from the office of the Prime Minister, demonstrators started to be brutally assaulted and beaten.
The president of SYCAMU, Roméo Dika, is now reported being accused for having prepared an insurrection, an act which could be sentenced by life imprisonment or even death penalty.
Cameroon Voice – 9 November 2012:
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