Geneva (National Times)-Confrontation between security agents of the Cameroon’s Presidential couple and protesters at the Intercontinental Hotel in Switzerland on Wednesday June 26 has triggered an outpour of anger.
Amid the condemnation and criticisms of the actions from the president’s security team, supporters argue that, the incident remains a diplomatic affair.
According to Australian media expert and Lawyer, Jen Robinson, Biya’s security officers have been physically abusing members of the public including Journalists who film any anti-Biya march.
“Appalled by the conduct of Cameroon President Security officials at Intercontinental Hotels, Geneva, physically interfering with RTS Journalist filming a protest and took his phone. They threatened me not to film it, but I told them that it was my right to film,” she said on her twitter account.
She said when she offered to assist the Journalist who was being manhandled; Biya’s agents also turned to her. She claimed she was only saved by the prompt intervention of Swiss police officers.
“When I offered to assist the journalist, a Cameroon security officer grabbed me by the arm, pushing me towards his colleagues and I was surrounded by a group of them trying to take my phone too. People shouted in protest and the Swiss police had to stop them,” testified Robinson.
She said Biya’s forces have filled the hotel and their presence is scary which is why she had to leave the hotel the same night under escort. “My friends escorted me through Intercontinental Hotels lobby to get my bags because they were worried about me being approached again inside, away from the police. I wouldn’t have felt safe staying there tonight with the amount of Cameroon security in the hotel,” recounted Robinson.
According to the specialist in International Law, the issue has gone beyond mere anti-Biya protest and Presidential security and the Swiss authorities have to consider it as a diplomatic affair.
She said she is surprised to see security agents on foreign land abusing citizens – “This is a sovereignty issue for Switzerland: I observed foreign state security guards proactively and physically try to shut down a democratic protest on a public road and forcefully take a Swiss Journalist’s phone when there was clearly no security threat to any Cameroon official.”
Agents expelled from Swiss, change of destination?
According to unconfirmed reports reaching our newsroom, about four of Biya’s security agents have been expelled from the Swiss territory. The National Times is however unable to independently verify the information. But we gleaned that they have been given 72 hours to leave Switzerland. Their case is not unconnected to the recent protest march where it is reported that they abused some peaceful protesters and journalists covering the event.
With the serious threat to the security and tranquility of the Cameroonian Presidential couple, National Times has received unconfirmed reports too that Paul and Chantal Biya are considering moving to France away from the tens of persons gathering to challenge their stay in the Swiss Alps.
We learnt that the President may not be staying in the French capital of Paris, but a small town, Grenoble, far from the usual hustling and bustling of public life and diplomatic affair as well as any eventual protest movement.
While Biya and his wife spend their time in the comfort of the inner boos of the hotel, security agents are on the alert, spending sleepless nights to ensure maximum security for the head of state.