Activists threatened

| March 13, 2018

Several tobacco-control advocates told last week’s 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town, South Africa, of the violence or threats they faced as they fought the expansion of smoking in their countries, according to a story by Donald G. McNeil Jr. for the New York Times.

Eight years ago, more than a dozen men with AK-47s shot their way into Akinbode Oluwafemi’s home in Lagos, Nigeria. They killed his house guard and his brother-in-law, and briefly held a muzzle to the head of one of his year-old twins.

“I do not know why I was not killed that day,” said Oluwafemi, who as deputy director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria has been one of his country’s leading antismoking activists.

None of the victims, who spoke at the conference in telephone conversations, could prove that the men assaulting or threatening them worked for the tobacco industry.

But the pattern was said to be consistent.

They were first quietly warned that they were upsetting cigarette companies, tobacco farmers or government officials connected to the industry.

And if the activists persisted, threats or violence escalated suddenly and unpredictably.

McNeil’s story is at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/health/antismoking-activists-threats.html?emc=edit_tnt_20180312&nlid=60534081&tntemail0=y

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Category: Breaking News, People

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