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Wangari Maathai on her struggle for democracy:
“The former Government was completely against the Green Belt Movement and our work of mobilizing women into groups that could produce seedlings and plant them. The Government was also against the idea of educating and informing women. It didn’t want citizens to know that sometimes the enemy of the forests and the environment was the Government itself, which was supposed to be protecting the environment. If citizens saw the linkages, they would put pressure on the government to improve governance, to create democratic space, to help them protect their environment, and to be responsible managers on citizens’ behalf. When we were beaten up, it was because we were telling the Government not to interfere with the forests. We were confronted by armed police and guards who physically removed us from the forests as we sought to protect these green spaces from commercial exploitation. Sometimes in the process we got hurt, arrested or thrown into jail.”