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Slovakia bans Falun Gong protest


Slovak authorities have banned a demonstration by human rights organisations planned during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit in Bratislava Thursday.

Bratislava's town council banned the demonstration officially because the square in front of the presidential palace is reserved for the president's office.

The gathering was planned by six non-governmental groups including Amnesty International, Falun Gong Association and Friends of Tibet Society during the meeting between Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic and his Chinese counterpart.

Hu is to arrive Thursday from Moscow for his first-ever visit to Slovakia. The former communist country will be his only European stop.

The six NGOs have called on top Slovak officials to discuss human rights with the Chinese president.

A spokesman for the Slovakian president said the country would not seek to meddle in Chinese domestic affairs.

"Slovakia, as an E.U. member state, respects the E.U.-China strategic partnership and even though there are certain differences between both partners concerning human rights, neither Slovakia nor the E.U. will interfere in Chinese internal affairs," Marek Trubac told AFP.

(AFP, June 17, 2009)

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