By Bruck Shewareged — Te Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party dismissed its plan to hold a public meeting at Meskel Square on Saturday, 23 May 2009, as it was not able to secure permission to hold the event from the City Government of Addis Ababa.
In a letter issued by Markos Bizuneh, officer of Peaceful Demonstration and Public Meeting Notification of the City Government, the party was told that it can only hold its meeting in halls of the party’s choosing.
Dr. Hailu Araya, UDJ’s public relations head and vice president, said that the demonstration notification office told them that they can only make facilities available for the party to hold its meetings in a hall.
Although the party notified the city administration on Monday, the response came after three days which, according to him, contravened the law.
Article 6 (2) of Proclamation No. 3/1991 which provides for the establishment of the procedure for peaceful demonstration and political meeting says, “Where the municipal or Awraja administrative office is of the opinion that … it is preferable for the peaceful demonstration or public political meeting to be held at some other time or place, it shall so notify the organizers by giving reasons, in writing, within 12 hours of the time of submission of their notice.”
”We submitted our request on Monday but they responded on Thursday. Here you can see the law had been breached,” Dr. Hailu said.
Denying the party a space to hold its activities has its own danger, Dr. Hailu said.
“In many places, especially in Amhara and Oromia regions, many of our offices have been closed, party members detained and intimidated,” he added.
Despite the problems that the party is facing, they will continue the peaceful political struggle, according to him.