May 31, 2013 / 2:43 PM / 6 years ago

Rights demonstrators arrested ahead of FIFA Congress

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (Reuters) - Workers’ rights demonstrators protesting against the 2022 World Cup finals being held in Qatar were arrested and detained for seven hours by police while the FIFA Congress was being held on Friday.

The demonstration was taking place in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis about 24 km (15 miles) from the Swami Vivekananda Convention Centre where the Congress of FIFA’s 209 member nations, including Qatar, was taking place.

The demonstration involved around eight people holding protest banners demanding a revote of the 2010 decision to award Qatar hosting rights for the World Cup.

The demonstration was organised by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and their banners read: “Re-run the vote. No World Cup without workers’ rights.”

The ITUC has become increasingly active and also held a protest outside last week’s UEFA Congress in London.

South African Gemma Swart, the ITUC’s campaign and communications specialist, told the media by telephone: “We were arrested and held in a Port Louis police station for seven hours without charge.

“Our lawyers told us that under local laws we could hold a peaceful demonstration with up to 11 people and we were below that.

“We staged a similar protest in London last week outside the UEFA Congress without any problems.”

FIFA has yet to comment.

Editing by John O'Brien

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