Daily Archives: December 24, 2015
A crowd of supporters of the Oromo people in Ethiopia staged a loud protest in front of the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse at Sixth and Broadway near noon Wednesday, saying the government is killing farmers and displacing them from their land to expand the capital city of Addis Ababa.
They also said students and others who are peacefully demonstrating against government policies are being imprisoned, tortured and killed.
Oromia is a regional state in the vicinity of the capital, and protesters said most of the people at the rally were either refugees from the killings, immigrants from Oromia or in the U.S. as students, with many living in the vicinity of the former Americana Apartments in south Louisville.
Men, women and children shouted for “justice” and held banners and signs calling for “Justice and Freedom for the Oromo People” and “Justice for Massacred Oromo Students” and condemning “state terrorism.”
“We’re here to demand that the American government stop supporting the Ethiopian government,” Fanta Ketu, an organizer from Columbus, Ohio, said. When farmers’ land is seized, “they don’t give them anything,” Ketu said.
Amnesty International reported in October 2014 that “Thousands of members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, are being ruthlessly targeted by the state based solely on their perceived opposition to the government.
The report “exposes how Oromos have been regularly subjected to arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention without charge, enforced disappearance, repeated torture and unlawful state killings as part of the government’s incessant attempts to crush dissent,” according to Amnesty International.
At the Louisville rally, Waago Chaama wore a red T-shirt reading: “In Holy Memory of My Fallen Oromo Heroes.” He said he “stands in solidarity” with those in his native country.
The Oromo people makeup about a third of the population but protester Abdala Ali said they don’t have any representation in the government. Protesters have talked to representatives of U. S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office in the federal building, he said.
Andrew Condia of McConnell’s office said he and others were aware of Wednesday’s protest and that he would supply a comment to The Courier-Journal, after checking with Washington staff members.
“We need the U.S.A. to help us,” Ali said. “We need the world to hear.”
The famous Oromo female singer Hawi Tezera was detained and tortured last week by the Ethiopian Federal police after releasing an Afan Oromo single music that’s critical of the Ethiopian government’s affairs, i.e. the Master Plan and the killings following the protests against the Master Plan, in the Federal State of Oromia.
The single, which was released on December 15, 2015, was produced using the traditional Oromo protest genre called Geerarsa. Photos of the singer’s tortured body, showing the bruised and swollen areas, are shown here.
Upon the intervention of the Oromian State police, the report adds, Hawi was released from her ordeal only to be imprisoned again over the last few days. Activists fear that she could be tortured again; the Ethiopian government has a record of detaining and torturing dissidents (prisoners of conscience) who oppose its policies using peaceful and Constitutional means.
In addition to Hawi, thousands of Oromos, including a journalist, have been imprisoned across Oromia and Ethiopia over the last week – accused of expressing protests against the Addis Ababa Master Plan.
According to the protesters, who are using peaceful (nonviolent) means to demonstrate their opposition, millions of Oromo farmers will be evicted from their homesteads, and thousands have already been evicted and have become homeless, through the government’s large-scale land-grab project called the Addis Ababa Master Plan.
During the recent wave of arrests, the government has especially targeted Oromo singers and their families/relatives for imprisonment and harassment.
It is to be remembered that Oromo male singers Jireenyaa Shifarraa and Bilisummaa Dinquu were reportedly abducted last week by the government forces – after being accused of releasing music that’s critical of the government’s policy in Oromia; photos of Jireenyaa Shifarraa in handcuffs were circulating on social media last week (attached below).