Daily Archives: August 7, 2016
Oromia: Deaths and Detentions As Protests Flare
(A4O, 7 August 2016) At least fifty five people have been reported killed over two days of protests in Oromia while dozens were arrested in the capital, Addis Ababa and other major cities and towns of Oromia.
At least hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets in more than 200 towns and cities across Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest regional state, to demonstrate against widespread and systematic persecution.
According to local media reports, over 55 individuals have been killed and thousands arrested as police and security forces opened fire on peaceful protestors, though these details are likely to change as more information comes in.
Ethiopian authorities would not confirm the death toll.
The reported deaths come as dozens of 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.
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 some 80 percent 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.
The inescapable moment of truth
By Tullu Liban*
(Advocacy4Oromia, 7 August 2016) This piece is inspired by a peculiar bravery I noticed in one of the social media posts on August 6, 2016. Doctors and Nurses of Hiwot Fana Hospital in Harar protested against the government in their compound condemning the killings and suppression that targets the Oromo people.
Given the current Ethiopian context, these professionals are working in government health institution and they are aware that they might be demoted, fired or arrested for the bold action they had taken in support of the Grand Oromia rally. However, they set an exemplary model for other civil servants. They couldn’t resist the moment of truth that compelled them to say no to the atrocities they are witnessing on daily basis. No doubt they might have delivered hundreds of corpses of the brutally butchered Oromo students to the grieved families over the months.
It is clear that these health professionals have mourned on several occasions while they attempted to help the ruthlessly shot dead youngsters. Thus, they decided to march with the masses for freedom on August 6.
Bravo Hiowt Fana! You have broken the silence! It is now up to the other Oromo civil servants to follow suite. How do you fail to demonstrate at least in your organizational premises to condemn the killings of your fellow Oromos-your brothers, sisters, children and parents? Can you stay aloof while your native land is in turmoil? Will you be paid your salaries while Oromia is bleeding? Please come out and send a strongest signal to the TPLF regime that you are sick of massacres, torture and arrests.
To the surprise of the world, and the humiliation of the TPLF thugs, the Oromo protest has now reached a point of no return unless the quest for freedom is addressed once and for all.
This orderly and civilized protest will continue uninterruptedly until the sought freedom is achieved. It will continue with further level of civility and persistence if possible or otherwise depending on the response of TPLF thugs.
As we all know, so far the price we paid in the march to freedom is so huge. Our gallant heroines and heroes are still paying for our inevitable emancipation in their priceless lives. The courageous Qerroos and Qerrittiis, the Qube generation, in particular, are bravely challenging the infamous, brainless, killing machine of the TPLF army known as Agazi. While our children selflessly expose their chests to live ammunition, how dare the Oromia civil servants fail to organize themselves and unequivocally condemn the atrocities being committed against their own people?
Bravo Harar Hiwot Fana!
*Source: Tullu Liban