Protestors picket De Beers London Museum opening

Police had to hold back a placard-wielding crowd of fifty on Wednesday night from disrupting a celebrity party at the Natural History Museum of London where diamonds from South African mining company De Beers were being exhibited, South Africa’s Mail & Guardian reports.

Survival International organized the protest to highlight the Botswana Bushmen’s claim that their land had been taken away from them to mine the diamonds.

British actress Julie Christie added her weight to the public outrage. The newspaper reported her saying: “I am shocked that the Natural History Museum can ignore the plight of the Bushmen while taking money from De Beers. Boycott De Beers! You’ll have the destruction of the Bushmen on your conscience.”

The Bushmen are angered that De Beers has refused their request to have the issue of the evictions included in the exhibition.

De Beers described Survival International’s claims as “misleading and dishonest.”

The museum accused Survival International of seeking to exploit the exhibition for its own ends.