UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: September 29, 300 AP.

President orders troops to "rescue" UNVCOCN officers

President Hope has responded to international pressure and effected the "rescue" of several UNVCOCN officials within the protester-encircled offices of the United Nations agency.

President Hope sent a regiment of Presidential Guardsmen (about 250 soldiers) from Utan Krysaror to provide a secure evacuation route for the two dozen-or-so UNVCOCN officials who have, since Tuesday, been trapped in their offices in downtown Luka, offices which have been surrounded by protesters objecting to an Internal Memo published by the office.

The UNVCOCN Officers, including Chef-de-Mission Gordon Davidz, were rescued and taken to an undisclosed location by the heavily armed Presidential Guardsmen, but the office building remains the focus of the protests.

The protest erupted into violent riots on Wednesday morning when police first attempted to provide a safe entrance for Utanian-born staff of the UNVCOCN offices and other offices within the building. Fifty people, mostly right-wing "neo-Nazi's" according to the Luka Police Commissioner, were arrested and some damage was sustained to cars and buildings in the immediate facinity.

The Zeitgeist Magazine edition that inspired the protest has sold in excess of one million copies to date, a sales record for the magazine. The edition refers to a confidential internal memo from the Luka UNVCOCN office to the UNVCOCN head office in Christianshaven that expressed doubt about the stability of Utanian Democracy and urged UNV "re-occupation" of the former UNV-administered nation should democratic processes collapse.

The edition, the protests and most assuredly the riots have reached international attention. Television news around the globe have been reporting on the situation, some focusing on the consequences to the Vexgames bid by the city, others on the possibilities of chaos in the country. Utania has rarely been the focus of such intensive attention. The numbers of international reporters at the protest site now threatens to overwhelm the number of protesters.

Protest has also come through official channels with the Zartanian government said to have already warned Utanian officials of the "consequences" of harm coming to Zartanian citizens amongst the two dozen foreign officials. The UNV General Secretary, Miss Emma Johnsson, is said to have spoken to Utanian diplomats and Acting-President Hope about securing the safety of the UNV officers and defusing the hostile situation.

President Hope, currently in an Acting capacity pending the result of the elections, thereafter made a statement to the press explaining the action, and the international response to date. He explained that he was "very disappointed" with the recommendations of the UNV analysts who authored the memo, but was not prepared to risk Utania's or Luka's international reputation.

"We could not allow the events of Wednesday repeat, risking the lives of these foreign nationals, irrespective of their attitudes or opinions of us. We ARE a safe nation; We will NOT descend into chaos because someone says we will; And we will not allow our anger, however justified, to lead to violence against these people. This is why I have authorised this action."

"The International attention on Utania at this moment is not flattering. We are currently undergoing the most significant democratic exercise in our history, yet this is not the coverage being provided. This is unfortunate, because in this very week something very special is happening in Utania that the world, and the UNVCOCN should be very proud of."

President Hope then added: "Not ALL of Luka is in flames as a result of the riots and protests, and at no time were the so-called hostages in any physical danger. The action of the Guardsmen was merely precautionary. The riots that have been beamed around the world involved no more than a hundred less... sociable members of Utanian society."

"Furthermore, no Vexgame venues were remotely close to the violence, or the protests. This remains a peaceful and amicable protest by responsible yet dissenting members of Utanian society. Therefore, I see no reason for this media feeding frenzy to continue."

Only two communications have been made by UNVCOCN officers locked within the building to the nation's media, firstly denying the communiqué, then denying the memo was correctly transcribed. UNVCOCN Officials from the agency's headquarters in Christianshaven, Christiana, have demanded that Utania "rescues" the officials, but refused to comment on the Zeitgeist magazine articles.

<Tech> By all means, keep the attention going!! ;-)

©UPA, 300 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2000. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)