Declaring ‘State of Emergency’ will Only Facilitate the Demise of the Minority TPLF Regime in Ethiopia

Statement of the Central Leadership of Oromian Youth Movement (a.k.a. Qeerroo Bilisummaa)

(A4O, 12 October 2016) Our freedom depends on the totality of the contributions we all make for the struggle.

The end of the existence the TPLF in Finfinne (Addis Ababa) is not far. Qeerroo Bilisummaa would like to affirm that it will intensify the struggle until our people gain their freedom.

Source: Declaring ‘State of Emergency’ will Only Facilitate the Demise of the Minority TPLF Regime in Ethiopia

Step Down | Qilinto Prison Fire

(Advocacy4Oromia, 12 October 2016)- A solidarity campaign calling on the Ethiopian Government to step down in light of the second wave of protests that began in November 2015, now a movement that has engulfed most of Ethiopia.

The Oromo people have been leading this call for national reform and as a result, have been met by unimaginable state sanctioned violence. In joining the movement, Amhara regions and Southern Nations have also been subject to extreme violence by Ethiopian security forces. Now a full blown revolution that will only end when the Ethiopian Government is no longer in power, we stand with the people in their call to make this a reality.

The Ethiopian government needs to #StepDown. We will release one video a week for four weeks, each video telling a specific story from the revolution, each story giving you clear insight into why it is time for the Ethiopian Government to #StepDown. Week one, we bring you the story of the Qilinto Prison massacre.

Inside Story – What’s fuelling protests in Ethiopia?

(Advocacy4Oromia, 12 October 2016)-It’s been hailed as an oasis of political stability and a model of growth in Africa. But for the past year, Ethiopia has been in the news not because of its economic successes, but because of insecurity on its streets.

Ethiopians – mostly from the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups – are angry about what they describe as decades of marginalisation.They’re also upset about government plans to build factories on land they consider their own. The protests have frequently grown violent, and police are accused of responding with unnecessary force.Activists say at least 450 people have been killed.

For the first time in 25 years, ruling party leaders have declared a six month state of emergency.It gives the government power to ban protests – and troops can be deployed to maintain calm.So what now for Ethiopian unity?

Presenter: Hazem Sika

Guests:Getachew Reda: Ethiopian communication minister

Awol Allo: Fellow at the London School of Economics

Nagessa Oddo: Chairman of Oromo People’s Congress.

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On what was called “Declaration of Emergency” in Ethiopia:

BY Henok G. Gabisa*

1- Arrests, brutal crackdown has been taking place already. What will this state of emergency change ?

The country has already been under the same exact situation of state of emergency. Since the first protest broke out in Ginchi town, the people have endured all kinds of governmental brutality with impunity. For all purposes and intentions, Oromia fell under the rule of the command post as of December of 2015 (see EBC report on December 15 or 16 where Getachew Reda and the PM HMD vowed for “merciless and definitive” action/measure against the protesters). The same statement was made by HMD in regard to the Amhara protest a month ago. So, that means, the country is already in exact similar situation with state of emergency. No official of the regime has ever been investigated and prosecuted for the killings of hundreds and thousands of mass arrests in the past months.

If there is anything the declaration of the state of emergency tells us, it is a sinister move thought to be used as a legal cover by the regime to continue to exculpate or exonerate itself from mass murders, mass arrests, media blackout and all other vengeful actions it is taking against the public. It is just a final attempt to legalize and legitimize all that is to come.

It has to be noted that it is just legal and constitutional under Ethiopian legal system (Article 93 of the Constitution ) to kill during state of emergency. In Ethiopia, right to life is among lists of derogable rights contrary to the international human rights treaty obligations where observance of right to life should remain intact in any kind of emergency situation. Not that Ethiopia has ever observed its international duty, now we are witnessing an all-out war situation declared against the citizens.

It has to be noted that the declaration of emergency is yet to be published. This means, the regime will have an unaccountably and extremely broad margin of military actions to engage in a war-like battles against the public. That will be another self-caused recipe for the end of the regime.

2 – Do you see it more like a domestic or foreign oriented message?

I see it like a message desired to be conveyed to the foreigners that the regime is still in control, while in fact, the irony of the declaration is a deep cut that demystified the country is in fact unstable, volatile and more likely to explode contrary to the invented narrative built over the last decades.

3 – Do you see any room for dialogue in this crisis ?

I think the room for dialogue is closed. That ship has already sailed with the#OromoMassacre at #Irreechaa last week that was caused by military’s firing at the crowed at the sacred event and stampede that followed as a result. Nobody expected the regime goes that low. It proved to the people that the regime’s political psychology is hell bent on winning the battle by deploying the military at any expense, even though we can’t find an example anywhere in the world where people lost a battle to tyranny and dictatorship despite the journey it takes to see freedom and democracy desired in life.

henok-gabisa*Henok G. Gabisa is a visiting academic fellow at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia.

He is also legal counsel for victims of widespread human rights violation in Ethiopia. He writes on justice system reform in post-conflict nations and tweets at @henokgabisa

Emergency Declared in Ethiopia but the decree means nothing to those who have lived with inhumanity worse than death.

Tsegaye R Ararssa 10 October 2016.

This morning, Ethiopians woke up to the news that the Council of Ministers of the Federal Government has passed an emergency decree that may last for the coming six months. The official text of the Decree is not yet published in the official legal communicator, the Negarit Gazetta. (As it has now become customary, it may never be published at all; the regime does what it wants to do nonetheless.) That it is so declared today is announced to journalists by the Prime Minister in Cabinet on the state television. The Prime Minister spoke in order to announce the decision to journalists as the primus inter pares, the first among equals, in the Cabinet. The reason given by the Prime Minister for issuing the declaration is that there is a breakdown of law and order that threatens the safety of citizens and the integrity of the constitutional order….

….As we all know, the regime has virtually banned all forms of demonstrations, political meetings, associations, etc for a long time. We know that there is no press freedom in the country. Ethiopia is one of the top four jailers of journalists in the entire world. Arbitrary killing, mass arrests, detentions, tortures, discrimination, have been a matter of routine practice throughout the 25 years tenure of the regime, only exacerbated now in the context of the open mass revolt in the last couple of years.

The regime has always been confrontational with religious groups because it routinely and unscrupulously interferes with their freedom of religion.

Demanding the right to self-determination as per the constitution automatically renders one a terrorist because apparently, in EPRDF’s book, the right to self-determination is already exercised by all. As a result, identity is securitized, i.e., it is handled as a matter of threat to national security.

The right to one’s distinct language—e.g. the right to a choice of script—is routinely violated, a striking example being the regime’s denial of the right of the Erob people of Tigray Region to adopt a Latin script for their language.

In its total lawlessness, the regime had left no right unviolated be it bluntly or systematically. It is because of this that in terms of what rights it limits or what new power it confers on the executive, this declaration is inconsequential. There is nothing it changes on the ground. The resistance was happening while a full military rule organized by a Command Post chaired by the Commander-in-Chief himself was already in place. In the name of taking a “merciless and definitive” measure on protestors, the army and its Agazi Regiment, the Regional Special Forces, the Federal Police, the States’ Police Forces, Prison officials, and the Local Militia have all taken ultimate measures on civilians, children, mothers, and the elderly. They have applied the most barbaric methods of execution, massacre, torture, and abuse. Surely novelty will elude them in this regard. They have practised abuses that the world’s ghastliest torture centres and killing fields have witnessed in history.

The only question that remains now is why the regime issues this declaration now? What do they want to achieve? There are two possibilities: 1) to give a retrospective legal cover to atrocities they have been perpetrating so far and to exculpate the more extensive barbaric measures they are preparing to take in a last vindictive act just before they vacate power; and 2) to terrorize the public into temporary silence during which time they will dismantle major infrastructural facilities and move to the home base of the TPLF core of the regime. These possibilities are mere speculations, of course, but these are speculations that are hardly without reasons rooted in the conduct, words, and attitudes of the key figures in the regime.

Source: Emergency Declared in Ethiopia but the decree means nothing to those who have lived with inhumanity worse than death.

IOLA Press Statement Regarding the Irreechaa Massacre of October 2016

On the 2nd of October 2016, Ethiopian security forces shot live ammunition into the massive crowd (estimated in millions) and fired tear gas during the Irreechaa Festival, the Oromo’s thanks giving day. As we now understand, in a matter of 30 minutes, hundreds of unsuspecting celebrant’s were killed and thousands have suffered severe injuries and mental trauma.

According to the statement from the opposition political party, The Oromo Federalist Congress, up until the 3rd of October 2016, the death toll has passed 678. This figure has continued to increase and the number of those injured is not yet accounted for.

The Oromo’s have been celebrating Irreechaa for many years peacefully, but it has never entertained such a tragedy. This year’s festival was in fact different from the previous ones on several grounds. There was unusually massive security presence from the start. The hills behind the stage and surrounding lake were all occupied by heavily armed forces.

Several armored vehicles were pointing their warheads at the crowd and gunship helicopter was deployed. As the Oromo Protest (#OromoProtests) and disagreement with the government continued, political cadres from the ruling party were assigned and took central stage at this event. Given the continued protest and ongoing killings, such gross disrespect of the revered Irreechaa ceremony by the government cadres further infuriated the mass who continued to chant slogans.

Source: IOLA Press Statement Regarding the Irreechaa Massacre of October 2016

Irreecha Massacre Was Not a Stampede: Planned and Mechanized Massacre of Hundreds Oromo Civilians in Minutes

In a span of minutes, Ethiopia’s TPLF army and air force massacred more than 700unarmed Oromo civilians attending Irreecha cultural festival, the largest outdoor cultural event in Africa attended by millions of visitors from all over Oromia state every year.  Based on interviews with the Ethiopian regime’s propaganda minister Getachew Reda, Ethiopia-based Western journalists misrepresented and framed the intentional massacre of Oromo civilians as “stampede.”

It was not a stampede; it was a planned part of an ongoing genocide—why refuse to call it by its real name?  Reporters with close ties to the TPLF regime of Ethiopia, such as Bloomberg News’ William Davison and Reuters’ reporter and TPLF-sympathizer and undercover propagandist Aaron Maasho and others at BBC and CNN, ran with disturbing headlines that squarely mispresented the cause for the intentional massacre of  hundreds and injuries of thousands of Oromo as ‘stampede’.

Across international media outlets, reporters parroted stories with a fixed number of “50” deaths grossly under-reporting the numbers and absolving the regime of the genocide it committed based on pre-selected images, pictures and edited footages that hid most of the reality of the actual victims who were shot from helicopters, ground forces and machine-gun mounted Humvees, according to eyewitnesses, bloggers and social media activists.

Source: Irreecha Massacre Was Not a Stampede: Planned and Mechanized Massacre of Hundreds Oromo Civilians in Minutes


jalataOn October 2, 2016, the Tigre-led Ethiopian regime massacred more than seven hundred Oromos and injured hundreds more at Irreechaa, the Oromo national holiday of thanksgiving held in Bishoftu in which millions had gathered. During the Irreecha festival, Ethiopian security forces shot live ammunition into the crowd and fired tear gas, although they claimed that the lives lost were due to a stampede. Western media have joined in this claim, spreading inaccurate information about the tragic events of this day.

However, Oromo victims know what happened to them and they are telling their truth. They have used videos, pictures, and social media to release accurate information.The victims say that the Tigre-led government used live bullets, tear gas, helicopter gunships, armored cars, and snipers to terrify and kill Oromo children, elderly, women and other sectors of the Oromo society that had gathered to celebrate Irreecha.

During the holiday, many young Oromos had chanted anti-government slogans to show support for Oromo Protests, a protest movement that has been taking place since November 2015. Although the holiday festival had this political moment, the massacre of hundreds of people on this day was an inhumane violation of one of the most sacred rituals of the Oromo. Irrechaa is a sacred holiday of peace and a celebration of culture, and the Ethiopian regime continues to push the limits of its inhumane violent practices.


Authorities Send a Chilling Message to the Oromo People With Deadly Holiday Crackdown

(Advocacy4Oromia) A combination of smoke bombs and live bullets from security forces at the largest gathering for the Irreecha holiday in the Ethiopian state Oromia triggered a deadly stampede on Sunday, October 2. At least 52 people were killed, according to the government, but a major opposition activist group said the death toll is as high 600 people.

Separately, an unspecified number of people were killed in numerous other towns across Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest state, as the news prompted fresh protests, the activist group said, and hundreds were arrested over the weekend.

A screenshot from video posted to Facebook by Jawar Mohammed of the Irreecha stampede, in which security forces look on as people run away. Shots can be heard as smoke rises from the scene.

A screenshot from video posted to Facebook by Jawar Mohammed of the Irreecha stampede, in which security forces look on as people run away. Shots can be heard as smoke rises from the scene.

Demonstrations have taken place with regular frequency in Oromia since November 2015, demanding greater self-rule, freedom and respect for the ethnic identity of the Oromo people, who have experienced systematic marginalization and persecution over the last quarter century. Authorities have used deadly force against the protesters on more than one occasion.

What triggered the Irreecha stampede?

The bloody incident on Sunday occurred at Lake Hora, considered ritual ground, in a town called Bishoftu, about 48 kilometers south east of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Hundreds of thousands of people were estimated to have gathered from every corner of Ethiopia not only for Irreecha, a holiday that marks the beginning of the new season of harvests in Oromia, but also to stage a peaceful protest.

The streets of Bishoftu and the fields around Lake Hora were lined with thousands of people who were waiting to place green grass and flowers on the shore of the lake, an Irreecha ritual that marks the beginning of the new season. At the same time, there was also a heavy presence of security forces dressed in riot gear and gas masks, bearing long truncheons and guns with military vehicles. Some participants chanted as they moved through the area, holding up their arms into an X — a sign used by the Oromo people to protest against repression by the Ethiopian government.

At the venue, when a government official tried to make a speech before the Irreecha procession, protesters preempted him in a chaotic confrontation. A video captures a protester taking the stage and leading the public in a chant, “down, down TPLF”. TPLF stands for Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, the main party in the ruling coalition of Ethiopia.

Then, a series of shots rang out around the area. Meanwhile, a helicopter hovered above the gathering. Chaos erupted as marchers fled to seek shelter. “People started scattering in every direction screaming and yelling that ‘they were shooting causing a large number of people to fall over a cliff,” a survivor who was at the scene told me.

Why Irreecha?

Irreecha is the most popular festival in Oromia and is known for its emphasis on an indigenous cultural and religious practice of the Oromos, the single largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. In this way, the biannual celebration of Irreecha is intertwined with the politics of performing what it means to be Oromo.

In addition, for many years now, opposition Oromo activists have been explicitly expressing their discontent with the Ethiopian politico-economic system at Irreecha events. Even during the earlier times of quieter political activism, attendees of Irreecha events in Oromia openly declared their allegiance to banned Oromo political parties such as the Oromo Liberation Front. Making political statements at Irreecha events emerged out of the feelings of decades of marginalization and dispossession.

However, the 2016 Irreecha celebration was even more charged than usual because it came at a time of mourning those who have died over the last 11 months while protesting. By some counts, at least 700 people have been killed in relation with the ongoing protests in 2016. Since November 2015, reports of a person being shot, arrested or subjected to a violent harassment from security forces have surfaced on a daily basis.

On Sunday, the Oromo people had converted Irreecha into a place to celebrate their identity, but also to show their grievances. The violence there has shaken Ethiopia, as it appears to be the first assault by security forces on a major cultural and religious ritual of the Oromo people as well as among the most brutal crackdowns ever perpetrated specifically against the Oromo identity. The incident was probably intended to intimidate the persisting protests in Oromia as well as similar ones in the state of Amhara, to say the Ethiopian government is powerful entity and anyone who dares to challenge it will suffer.


Irreechaa 2016: A Year of Sacrifice

(Advocacy for Oromia)-It is with great pleasure that to invite you to the annual Irreecha Birraa festival, Oromo National Thanksgiving day, of the year on Sunday 2 October 2016.


Irreechaa Birraa is a celebration that repeats once in a year-in birraa and involves special activities or amusements as it has a lot of importance in our lives. It symbolizes the arrival of spring and brighten season with their vibrant green and daisy flowers.

It’s a day all Oromian’s celebrate and cherish due to our ties to our root: Oromo Identity and country. It’s a time for reflection, celebration and a good connection with our best heritage.

Theme: A Year of Sacrifice

This year’s Oromian Irreechaa Festival is going to be bigger and better than ever, with a whole theme park devoted to diverse Oromian cultural Identity. The theme of this national Thanksgiving Day is “A Year of Sacrifice ” in which it aims to celebrate Irreechaa festivals as a medium for bringing all Oromias together to remember those who are paying sacrifice for Oromo freedom and to promote our tradition and religion in society, to create public awareness where Oromo cultural and religious issues will be discussed, to provide a better understanding of Oromo culture and history, to pave the way for promotion of the Oromo culture, history and lifestyle and to celebrate Oromo Irreechaa, a national Thanksgiving Day.

Irreechaa: a moment of performing home in exile

According to Tsegaye Ararssa, Irreechaa means a moment of performing home in exile. “For the Oromo Diaspora the Irreechaa moment is a moment of performing home in exile. It is a longing for home. As such, it’s a site of struggle, a site of the agon, a site of imagining home. it is a way of homecoming. It’s a way of becoming what we would have been. Irreechaa is a moment of re-enacting life in its fullness, in all its colors and brilliance, and in its infinite beauty as a treasure. It is a celebration of vitality and life in the past, the present, and the future. Above all, it’s thanksgiving. Even in the midst of the festivity, it is a moment of thinking (thinking as thanking), and a reminder of the need for a grateful reflection as a way of life.”…/what-does-irreechaa-mean-to-…/


Irreechaa also called Irreessa, is Thanksgiving holiday of the Oromo people in  Oromia, east Africa The Oromo people celebrate Irreechaa to thank Waaqaa (God) for the blessings and mercies they have received throughout the previous year. The thanksgiving is celebrated at the sacred grounds of Hora Harsadi (Lake Harsadi), Bishoftu, Oromia. The Irreechaa festival is celebrated every year at the beginning of Birraa (the sunny new season after the dark, rainy winter season). Irrecha is celebrated throughout Oromia and around the world where diaspora Oromos live especially North America and Europe.

The Oromo people consider the winter rainy season of June to September as the time of difficulty. The heavy rain brings with it lots of things like swelling rivers and floods that may drown people, cattle, crop, and flood homes. Also, family relationship will severe during winter rain as they can’t visit each other because of swelling rivers. In addition, winter time could be a time of hunger for some because of the fact that previous harvest collected in January is running short and new harvest is not ripe yet. Because of this, some families may endure food shortages during the winter. In Birra (the season after winter in Oromoland), this shortage ends as many food crops especially maize is ripe and families can eat their fill. Other crops like potato, barley, etc. will also be ripe in Birra. Some disease types like malaria also break out during rainy winter time. Because of this, the Oromos see winter as a difficult season. However, that does not mean the Oromo people hate rain or winter season at all. Even when there is shortage of rain, they pray to Waaqaa (God) for rain.

The Oromo people celebrate Irreechaa not only to thank Waaqaa (God) but also to welcome the new season of plentiful harvests after the dark and rainy winter season associated with nature and creature. On Irreechaa festivals, friends, family, and relatives gather together and celebrate with joy and happiness. Irreechaa festivals bring people closer to each other and make social bonds.

Moreover, the Oromo people celebrate this auspicious event to mark the end of rainy season, known as Ganna, was established by Oromo forefathers, in the time of Gadaa Melbaa in Mormor, Oromia. The auspicious day on which this last Mormor Day of Gadaa Belbaa – the Dark Time of starvation and hunger- was established on the 1st Sunday of last week of September or the 1st Sunday of the 1st week of October according to the Gadaa lunar calendar has been designated as National Thanksgiving Day by modern-day Oromo people.

The event and its celebration is a symbol of unity in which various organisations and groups come together not only to celebrate but also to initiate and to work together as a team.

Irreechaa –Thanksgiving, forgiving and forward looking expression day for Oromo.