97 killed in anti-government protests in Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Ethiopian security forces fired on protesters over the weekend, killing at least 97 people, according to Amnesty International.
Several thousand people protested in the Oromia and Amhara regions, claiming unfair distribution of wealth in Ethiopia.
Amnesty International said at least 97 people died and hundreds were injured when they were fired on by police.
"The security forces' response was heavy-handed, but unsurprising," said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International's deputy regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. "Ethiopian forces have systematically used excessive force in their mistaken attempts to silence dissenting voices.
"These crimes must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated and all those suspected of criminal responsibility must be brought to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts without recourse to death penalty."
Amnesty International said police fired live bullets at protesters in the Amhara Region's Bahir Dar on Sunday, killing at least 30. In the region's Gondar, seven died Saturday. And dozens were killed in Oromia, Amnesty International said.
Hundreds were arrested in Oromia and Amhara, and are being held at unofficial detention centers that include police and military training bases.
Two officials with the Oromo Federalist Congress party confirmed the number of deaths in Bahir Day, Voice of America reported. Party Vice President Mulatu Gemechu told VOA's Horn of Africa Service that the deaths were spread across 12 areas.
A spokesperson for the Amhara regional government, Negussu Tilahun, confirmed seven people were killed in Gondor.
Two more people died in the town of Sharwa in the Amahra region, and protests also took place Saturday in Meskel Square, in the heart of Addis Ababa, though no deaths were reported, according to Voice of America.
The government shut down access to social media late Friday.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn had warned people not to protest.
"We don't know who takes ownership or is behind these protests, and sometimes they are organized by outside anti-peace forces with aims to destabilize this country and are organized through Facebook messages," he said. "These things don't have owners, and they are illegal. Therefore, participating in illegal protests clashes with and goes against our country's constitution."
Some protesters were carrying lethal weapons, including explosives, the government communications office said. But opposition leaders said the protesters were peaceful and unarmed.
The two ethnic groups in Oromo and Amharas make up the majority of Ethiopia's population. They believe the government favors ethnic Tigrayans with key government jobs and security positions.
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia
By Elias Meseret | AP
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopian security forces shot dead several dozen people in weekend protests across the country as frustration with the government grows, an opposition leader and Amnesty International said Monday, while hundreds staged a rare demonstration in the capital after calls via social media.
The government again blocked the internet over the weekend, alleging that “anti-peace elements” based abroad and online activists were to blame for the violence.
In a statement, Amnesty International said at least 67 people were killed in the Oromia region alone when security forces fired on protesters, and that another at least 30 were shot and killed in the northern city of Bahir Dar. The rights group cited “credible sources” and said hundreds of people were detained.
An opposition politician, Mulatu Gemechu of the Oromo Federalist Congress party, told The Associated Press that more than 70 people were killed across Oromia. “Many others were injured, and we have lost count of the number of those who were arrested,” he said.
The protests in several parts of the country at one time highlighted growing tensions between Ethiopia’s citizens and its leaders. People resorted to the rare acts of carrying banners criticizing political heavyweights and showing off the East African country’s former flag, used by the military government that the current administration overthrew in 1991.
“We need freedom,” one banner said. Demonstrations took place despite the government’s warning against unauthorized gatherings.
Ethiopia, a close security ally of the West, is often accused by rights groups of stifling dissent. The U.S. Embassy said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned with the extensive violence.”
People rallied around various causes. In Bahir Dar, the northern Amhara region’s capital, protesters demanded the reinstatement of the Wolqayit area in the Tigrary region back to the Amhara administration.
The arrest of members of a committee set up to oversee the reinstatement led to violent clashes over the past week.
The arrests also ignited weekend demonstrations in the Oromia region. Protesters demanded the release of people detained earlier this year in massive demonstrations against plans by the capital, Addis Ababa, to expand its territory into adjacent Oromia lands. The proposal has since been retracted.
Witnesses who insisted on speaking to The Associated Press anonymously for fear of reprisals said anti-riot police also used force Saturday to disperse hundreds of protesters in Addis Ababa who used the Oromia and Amhara issues to vent their anger at the government and call for political freedom.
“It has now become clear that people cannot hold peaceful protests in Ethiopia,” said Seyoum Teshome, a blogger who monitored the demonstrations. Teshome said regional police forces were being replaced by the army, leaving many areas under the military’s control.
“We will not tolerate bodies that aim to overthrow the government and the constitutional order of the country by force,” Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister, Demeke Mekonnen, told Fana Broadcasting Corporate on Monday.
By Al Mariam
No people [in the world] will remain smothered, meaning oppressed, for ages. It is [a] universal [truth]. No people, to the extent that they are people [human beings] and [as evident] in world history will not remain [like an inanimate object] in one place, they will not stay put in one place as one [an oppressor] may want them. When they [people] become very bitter, they explode. This is a universal truth. There are no people who will not rise up when they become bitter [can’t take it anymore]. Historically. Now. And in the future.”
Aboy Sibhat Nega, T-TPLF mastermind, kingpin, godfather, guru, power-behind-the-throne and capo di tutti capi (boss of all bosses) (2013).
Is Judgment Day upon the T-TPLF?
In December 2015, I wrote about the coming of an Ethiopian Spring in a commentary entitled, “Ethiopian Spring in a Winter of Discontent?”
I observed: “I cannot predict the exact time and date the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF) will fall in Ethiopia. But the handwriting of its fall is on the wall.”
A month later in January 2016, in my commentary “No Country Left for Ethiopians?”, I wrote that when judgment day arrives for the T-TPLF, it shall come “unexpectedly like a thief in the night.”
Is Judgment Day upon the T-TPLF now?
The people of Ethiopia have been crying out for justice and fairness for 25 years. All their pleas have fallen on the deaf ears and blind eyes of the T-TPLF.
The T-TPLF has answered the pleas of the people with bullets from AK-47s and machine guns.
They say, “Justice is like a train that is nearly always late.”
The Justice Train has been long overdue in Ethiopia; but I have been hearing the distant rumble of that train for years. Chugging silently. Chugging slowly. Chugging relentlessly. Chugging unstoppably. Chugging audaciously.
In 2016, the Ethiopian Train of Justice is chugging apocalyptically!
I can see it entering the station. But I don’t know who is aboard the train.
Does the Ethiopian Justice Train carry the messengers of peace or the harbingers of civil war?
I pray it brings the messengers of peace for I believe, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
But I do not hear the call of the peacemakers.
I hear the call of the war makers announcing judgment day: “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, ‘I am strong!’”
Those the T-TPLF has brought to their knees and rendered weaklings for a quarter of a century are now standing up defiantly, fearlessly, and matter-of-factly declaring: “We are strong! Ethiopia strong! One Ethiopia strong!”
I should like to believe, as Gandhi taught, strength does not come from physical capacity, the chatter of machine guns or the explosive power of bombs, rockets and missiles.
Strength comes from an indomitable will. A heart of gold and a will of steel.
After a quarter of a century of T-TPLF rule, the people of Ethiopia are showing their indomitable will: “T-TPLF! Enough is enough! We can’t take it anymore! We’re going to fight back! We ain’t afraid you! Go to hell, hell, hell!”
When change came to Tunisia in December 201o, it came like a thief in the night.
The Tunisian spark ignited the Middle East and North Africa. All hell broke loose and the wrath of the people was visited upon the dictators.
Is that thief in the night aboard the Ethiopia Justice Train?
I don’t know because I don’t know the answer to the following questions:
How long can the T-TPLF go on lording over 100 million people as though it owns and operates a land of slaves?
How long can the T-TPLF maintain Ethiopia as a slave plantation where they are the masters and everyone else serfs?
How long can the T-TPLF go on displacing farmers from their land and plunging them into abject poverty?
How long can the T-TPLF evict homeowners from their homes, drive out business owners from their businesses and desecrate churches and mosques to line its bottomless pockets?
How long can the T-TPLF go on selling vast acreages of ancestral lands of the Ethiopian people to the Chinese, to the Indians, to the Saudis, to the Turks and others for literally pennies?
How long can the T-TPLF go on massacring young people exercising their constitutional right of peaceful protest?
How long can the T-TPLF go on silencing the voices of 100 million Ethiopians?
How long can the T-TPLF keep its boots on the necks of 100 million Ethiopians?
I say, not long!
Not long! Not long!
August is the cruelest month for the T-TPLF.
Meles Zenawi, the demi-god thugmaster whose hand rocked the T-TPLF cradle for decades, died allegedly in August 2012. The exact date of Zenawi’s death remains a T-TPLF state secret.
Four years later in August 2016, I ask the question, “When will the T-TPLF cradle fall once and for all?”
“When” is that that gnawing and needling question that keeps up patriotic Ethiopians thinking about the nightmare that could follow the long night’s journey out of T-TPLF rule. (“Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop, When the wind blows, the cradle will rock, When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, And down will come baby, cradle and all.”)
There is a hurricane force storm of popular discontent, anger and rage consuming the T-TPLF today.
The people of Ethiopia are rising up everywhere. Ethiopia’s Cheetah’s (young people) are on the prowl. You can hear them growl everywhere.
When will the bough at the treetop of T-TPLF criminality and corruption break in the face of this hurricane of anger and resentment?
I cannot say, but I can say the bough has snapped! For sure! The only question is when (not if) T-TPLF cradle of criminality, corruption and crimes against humanity will come down crashing.
So it is:
Humpty Dumpty T-TPLF sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty T-TPLF had a great fall;
All the king’s horses and the king’s men
Cannot put Humpty Dumpty T-TPLF together again.
Neither Debretsion Gebremichael, Samora Yunis, Senbat Nega, Tedros Adhanom, Seyoum Mesfin, Arkebe Oqubay, Abay Tsehaye, Abadi Zemo, Tsegay Berhe, Azeb Mesfin, Haftom Abraha, Redwan Hussien, Hailemariam Desalegn (?) nor anyone else in T-TPLF thugdom can put Humpty Dumpty T-TPLF together again.
The T-TPLF is heading toward political calamity
Ethiopia has failed utterly to become a functional nation under the T-TPLF.
In Ethiopia today, there is not one group that is content with the present T-TPLF-controlled “ethnic federalism” scam.
For more than a quarter century, the T-TPLF has used the creed of “ethnic federalism” and divisive ethnic politics to cement itself into power. The T-TPLF has masterfully employed a strategy of fear, loathing and hatred to set one group of Ethiopians against another to cling to power. The T-TPLF for a quarter of a century has been playing a shell game of phony political parties, calling itself “EPRDF”.
The TRUTH is the T-TPLF (EPRDF or whatever it wants to call itself) is overwhelmingly rejected by every ethnic group in Ethiopia, bar none!
The T-TPLF knows its ethnic and party shell game jig is up.
The T-TPLF today is finding it impossible to impose its absolute will on the people of Ethiopia without getting a push back, a fight back and a kick on the back side.
The people of Ethiopia are standing their ground. No more will they stand and wait for the T-TPLF to kick them around.
The young people are leading the fight back and push back. Not with violence but peaceful defiance. With courageous civil disobedience. With resolute nonviolent resistance. With steely determination. Without fear. Without hesitation. Without doubt.
The youth are the big hole in the T-TPLF dike (dam).
For a long time, the T-TPLF tried to buy off the youth with glitter. The T-TPLF tried to intimidate, arrest and jail the youth. Today, the T-TPLF is massacring the youth. But the youth keep on marching, marching in the streets and shouting out: “Stop killing our brothers in Oromia. Stop mass killing of Amhara people. Stop T-TPLF supremacy. Release political prisoners now!…”.
“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future,” said the man who was the idol of the late thugmaster Meles Zenawi.
The T-TPLF can never own Ethiopia’s youth. But Ethiopia’s youth own Ethiopia.
The T-TPLF thinks it can stop the leak in the dike of popular anger and outrage by using its trigger-finger and massacring student protesters.
What the T-TPLF fails to realize (is in denial about) is that behind the trickling flow of student anger and rage is a massive lake of fire stoked by massive popular frustration, resentment and bitterness.
The T-TPLF tries to legitimate itself through its own delusional conquest narrative of alleged military prowess, fabricated economic success, façade of political stability, etc.
The T-TPLF says only they are the only ones who are brave and powerful; only they are the smartest and the brightest; only they are the chosen and the rest are the God-forsaken.
Everyone else is a cowardly “retard” as a jabbering and giggling T-TPLF mouthpiece described it not long ago.
The T-TPLF can think what it wants; believe what it chooses.
But none of it is going to matter.
It is a universal truth that the people united can never be defeated.
The T-TPLF can use it guns, tanks and planes, but the more the T-TPLF kills innocent Ethiopians, the stronger will be the resolve and determination of the people to fight for their freedom.
None of it is going to matter.
In one recent video online, a man in the street is heard saying, “Under TPLF rule, we are already dead. Worse than dead. We can’t be anymore dead than we already are.”
An incredibly powerful statement by a man in the street who echoes the deeply held sentiment of the general population.
When people are forced to choose between freedom and slavery, second-class citizenship and subhuman treatment, they will choose to fight and will never be put to flight.
This principle applies even to people the T-TPLF refers to as “retards” and “low-lifes”. The Nazis used a slightly different word to describe the non-Aryans in Germany: Untermenschen (subhumans).
The T-TPLF Ubermenschen (supermen ) v. the masses of Ethiopian Untermenschen.
There is no question that the people of Ethiopia will defeat the T-TPLF. The people of Ethiopia will be victorious.
Judgment Day has arrived for the T-TPLF.
There is no way on earth to stop a people who have declared in their hearts and minds and to the ugly faces of the t-TPLF, “Beqa! Angeshegeshen! Quaq alen! We ain’t gonna take it no more!”
You don’t have to take my words for this truth.
Ask Sebhat Nega, the godfather of the T-TPLF. He will tell you like it is. Raw. No bull.
No people [in the world] could remain smothered, meaning oppressed, for ages. It is [a] universal [truth]. No people, to the extent that they are people [human beings] and [as evident] in world history will not remain [like an inanimate object] in one place, they will not stay put in one place as one [oppressor] may want them. When they [people] become very bitter, they explode. This is a universal truth. There are no people who will not rise up when they become bitter [can’t take it anymore]. Historically. Now. And in the future.”
Onward and forward!
We are strong! Ethiopia strong! One Ethiopia strong!
Ethiopia lines up a 36-member team to the Rio Olympics
Ethiopia will bank on a 36-strong team at the 2016 Rio Olympics Games. The country has opted for a blend of enthusiasm and experience, with 2008 Beijing Olympics double gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba among the stars participating.
CCTV Africa’s Girum Chala reports from the team’s training camp in Addis Ababa.
“The Ethiopian team has a very good track record in different international and Olympic tournaments. We have been training hard to possibly repeat that good result at
the upcoming Olympics. The team has prepared itself physically and mentally and will head to Rio soon,” Ethopian Athletics Coach Hussain Shebo said.
Almost 70 percent this Ethiopian Olympic team is made up of young athletes. Youngsters, including Sembere Teferi, have been tasked to deliver gold for the nation.
Former double Olympic champion, Dibaba, recently from maternity leave, will also attempt another Olympics glory in the women’s 10,000 meters.
“God willing, this will be my fourth Olympics participation and I hope to bring good results for my country,” Dibaba said. “It has been a little while since my return from maternity leave and I couldn’t have trained to the levels expected of me. However I believe I had short but effective preparation. God willing I will be a good competitor.”
Their coach Shebo, said that the team is ready.
“The team’s current performance is excellent. I know our competition with Kenyans or Mo Farrah won’t be easy. But as much as possible and based on their current performance,e I think they will achieve a better result,” Shebo said.
Deaths and detentions in Ethiopia as protests flare
Six people have been reported killed in the country's Gondar region, and dozens detained during a rally in Addis Ababa.
At least six people have been reported killed over two days of protests in Ethiopia while dozens were arrested in the capital, Addis Ababa.
A source told Al Jazeera that four people were killed on Saturday in the northern Gondar region, in addition to two people killed in the area on Friday. Located 700km north of Addis Ababa, Gondar is a region dominated by the ethnic Amharas.
Ethiopian authorities would not confirm the death toll.
The reported deaths come as dozens of ethnic Oromo protesters were arrested in Addis Ababa on Saturday.
At least 500 Oromo people - protesting against alleged economic inequality and discrimination - gathered amid a heavy police presence on the capital's main Meskel Square.
The protesters, who shouted slogans such as "we want our freedom" and "free our political prisoners", were dispersed by police using batons. Dozens were arrested.
A Reuters news agency video of the confrontation showed unarmed protesters being beaten and kicked by police officers, as protesters ran to evade arrest.
Prime Minister Haile Mariam Dessalegn on Friday announced a ban on demonstrations, which "threaten national unity" and called on police to use all means at their disposal to prevent them.
The rally was organised by opposition groups from the Oromo, Ethiopia's biggest ethnic group, who have held protests for months against what they say is government discrimination. They have been joined recently by ethnic Amharas, and protests have been reported in other parts of the country.
The Oromo and Amhara together make up the majority of Ethiopia's population and claim they suffer discrimination in favour of ethnic Tigrayans, who they say occupy the key jobs in the government and security forces.
Ethiopian authorities told the AFP news agency that at least a dozen people have been killed in clashes with police over territorial disputes in recent weeks.
Local people told AFP there had been rallies and clashes with police in the city of Ambo and Nemekte, in the Oromo region, as well as a calls for protests in Baher Dar in the Amhara region.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies