Anti-government protests grow in Ethiopia – ‘Financial Times’

ftEdith Honan in Nairobi

Scores of people were arrested in Ethiopia on Saturday in a wave of anti-government protests that rocked the capital Addis Ababa and dozens of other towns in the restless region of Oromia.

Images posted on social media showed huge demonstrations in the capital and other cities. Activists said the protests could mark a possible turning point in the nine month campaign against the government.

“The dynamic had shifted and people are now calling for the downfall of the government,” said Jawar Mohammed, who runs the Oromo Media Network in the US state of Minnesota and said he was in regular contact with protesters in multiple cities. “This is by far the biggest demonstration that Ethiopia has seen in terms of size and co-ordination across Oromia.”

Fisseha Tekle, an Amnesty International researcher who is based in Kenya, said the police and the army were using live bullets to disperse the protesters.

The demonstrations were sparked last November in protest against a move to extend the municipal boundaries of Addis Ababa into Oromia, which straddles much of the centre and south of the country and includes the capital. But they have grown in intensity in response to a fierce government crackdown.

The Oromo make up about 40 per cent of Ethiopia’s 90m people but they believe they are marginalised by the Tigrayan ethnic group, which dominates federal institutions despite comprising only about 6 per cent of the population.

In a report released in June, Human Rights Watch said that at least 400 people had been killed and thousands more injured since the protests began.

However, Ethiopia’s communications minister Getachew Reda said that Saturday’s protests were “illegal” and that “scores” of people had been arrested in the restless region.

Mr Reda denied suggestions that security personnel had used live gunfire, but said armed protesters were “trying to arm-twist the security forces into shooting” and “destroying private and public property.”

Independent efforts to reach protesters in Ethiopia were unsuccessful. The Ethiopian government has severely restricted access to the internet and social media in the Oromia region, making it hard to verify reports of protests.

But images showing bloodied bodies of protesters were circulated on social media using the hashtag #oromoprotests.

A massive demonstration was held in Gondar last Sunday, a city in the northern region of Amhara, to express solidarity with the Oromo and to express other grievances. It was the first time a major protest had broken out in another part of the country.

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Posted by on August 7, 2016. Filed under NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to Anti-government protests grow in Ethiopia – ‘Financial Times’

  1. Genet

    August 7, 2016 at 7:55 AM

    The current ethnic minority has never been elected by the people. Their claim ever since they came to power was to establish a Tigray region and by taking land from neighboring provinces to establish a self sufficient Tigray and be independent. If that’s the choice of Tigray people that’s their right what is not acceptable is taking loan on behalf of Ethiopia and grabbing land and Selling the countries mineral and land to foreign investors with out the approval of the Ethiopian people. All investment is concentrated in one region and the IMF & World bank should claim and hold responsible to Tigray regime. The beneficiary is the Tigray region and the capital that’s invested and hidden in foreign banks should automatically be blocked and paid back to the debtors. It should be a warning to foreign investors and land grab is not approved by the Ethiopian people. The 6% ethnic can not decide the fate of 94%.

  2. Genet

    August 7, 2016 at 11:22 AM

    I would like us to reflect from a moment of history similar to what
    What led to committee genocide during world II. Prior to and during
    World War II, Hitler’s genocidal Nazi party used variation on the
    Triangle to identify citizens and concentration camp prisoners
    according to religion, ideology, sexual preference and numerous
    Other categories. I’ll leave you with a thought From my visit in
    Amsterdam museums of Anne Frank I was deeply touched and changed me
    For ever. I hope it’s A Lesson we shall all learn.
    As Martin Luther said” Injustice here injustice every where” because
    We all are affected by it directly or indirectly. We shall not
    Sit and wait until it knock our doors. Together we’re strong separate
    We are weak. We all need each other.

    Quote taken from Pastor Martin Niemöller

    First they came for the communists,
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a communist.
    (Oromo, Amhara, Gambella, Muslim…)in our case
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me,
    And there was no one left
    To speak for me.

    Today the rustless TPLF regime try to repeat the
    Ugly ethnic & religion division to repeat what has been
    Seen in Rwanda & in former Yugoslavia. We need to open
    Our eyes and say NO! We are one the problem is TPLF not
    The Tigray, Oromo, Amhara, Gambella, Sidama or Muslims.
    We all are Ethiopians. We just need a government that work
    For all Ethiopians.