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As France Bans Even Peaceful Protest, Ban Ki-moon Has No "Specific" Comment

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 21 -- It has become a commonplace for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon or his spokespeople on his behalf to say that people have a right to peaceful protest that governments should respect.

But when Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky on September 21 about French Interior Minister Interior Minister Manuel Valls prohibiting any and all protest --"There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up," he said -- Nesirky said "no, no specific comment on individual instances or cases." Video here, from Minute 32:40.

One wag wondered if this deference was for all specific countries, or specifically for Permanent Five members of the Security Council.

Now we have the worst of both worlds: Ban has said that the freedom of expression, of filmmakers or cartoonists, is not absolute, and has declined specific comment on the banning of even peaceful protest.

The irony here is that France's Permanent Representative to the UN Gerard Araud said in Security Council consultations, numerous Council sources told Inner City Press, that he is proud to be able to denigrate religion. And apparently proud to be able to ban even peaceful protest to such acts. Watch this site.

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