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With tears and hopes, Rwanda marks 20 years since genocide

Rwandans lit candles of remembrance and listened to speeches and music at a ceremony at the Kigali, Rwanda, stadium.
Rwandans lit candles of remembrance and listened to speeches and music at a ceremony at the Kigali, Rwanda, stadium.Ben Curtis/Associated Press

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KIGALI, Rwanda — Displaying pride and pain, Rwandans on Monday marked the 20th anniversary of a devastating 100-day genocide that saw packed churches set on fire and machete-wielding attackers chop down whole families from a demonized minority.

Bloodcurdling screams and sorrowful wails resounded throughout a packed sports stadium as world leaders and thousands of Rwandans gathered to hear of healing and hope.

President Paul Kagame and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon together lit a flame at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which estimates that more than 1 million Rwandans perished in three months of machete and gunfire attacks mostly aimed at the country’s minority Tutsi population by extremist Hutus. Missing was the French government, a former colonial power, which Rwanda banned.

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