The early organisers included politicians, military leaders, businessmen, local mayors and police. But quickly thousands of ordinary people - shopkeepers, teachers and farmers - were encouraged or harassed into joining the killing. Machetes were familiar tools in a country of small farmers. In 1993 the Rwandan government had imported $750,000 worth of new machetes from China.
The killings spread throughout Rwanda, though at different speed in different areas. In some places, the militia were transported in from other regions and, working from carefully prepared lists, swept through neighbourhoods targeting Tutsis and moderate Hutus. But Rwanda is a small country, and in many places there was no need for lists.