struggle to bring social justice, democracy, freedom equality and end over two decades of Ethno-Fascism by the ruling party aka TPLF (Tigrai People's Liberation Front). If it wasn't for social medias, internet, smartphones which are the worst nightmares invented against dictators and oppressors, I would not be able to attend live coverage of this event by my techno savvy compatriots from the capital.
NewKids on the Block
This peaceful protest was organized by a very young party called Semayawi which means Blue in Ethiopia's official language Amharic which symbolizes peace, hope and progress. Its leaders are young to the scene but have the charisma and potential to mobilize different disgruntled and disenfranchised sectors of the society who lost the trust on both groups i.e. the Ethiopian ruling and the opposition parties respectively. The old-guard opposition party leaders who stayed in politics for over four decades could neither bring meaningful changes nor resolve new and old social vices which are affecting millions of Ethiopian electorates across the country on the daily basis; they are instead bickering with each other over menial issues, discourses, syntax, narratives etc. Semayawi party actually was trying to hold the rally last week on May
In today's rally, the protesters were just demanding their birth and constitutional rights- FREEDOM, JUSTICE, DEMOCRACY, EQUALITY; it was began around 9 o'clock local time at the party's Head office located in Ginffele and ended peacefully with ten thousand protesters at Ethio-Cuba square. Speeches were made by high profile figures like Dr. Yacob Woldemariam - Smayawai Party's advisor who had been imprisoned following the 2005 Ethiopia's rigged election; father of jailed Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu and of course chairperson of the party Engineer Yelkal Getent. Woldemariam in his speech urged the old-guards to handover the torch to Ethiopian youth so as to bring meaningful change. Reeyot's Father, Alemu Gobebo urged the public to pressure the government peacefully and legally to reform and bring change. Chairperson of the Semayawi party on his part gave three months ultimatum to the government to meet his party's four demands otherwise it will maintain the peaceful struggle until the government acts to resolve these issues.
- To release all prisoners of conscience (journalists, leaders and supporters of political parties) unconditionally and immediately,
- To stop displacing citizens from different parts of the country be it for speaking different language than the area where they live or with the excuse of investment
- To stop meddling in the religious affairs of the citizens,
- To tackle swiftly on widespread social injustice, sky-rocketing cost of living and corruption.
Any recipes for Arab-spring style uprising in Ethiopia?
Ethiopians were not allowed to exercise their birth rights enshrined in article 39 the country's Constitution which clearly and explicitly says citizens have the right to peacefully assemble and make protest which was hijacked and forbidden by Ethiopia's late tyrant following the 2005 rigged election where his security forces killed at gun-point 193 peaceful protesters who demanded their votes respected. Last year, the Ethiopian Muslim communities begun peaceful protest against the interference of the government in their religious affairs in which some their leaders and members charged with terrorism ended up in numerous jails across the nation; this doesn't include tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience who been held without fair trial or charges since TPLF came to power two decades ago. So, with sudden U turn, the government "allowed" today's demonstration, why is that? Hmm, let me guess, maybe the new Primer is from the northern part of the country nor follower of the Orthodox Church (just pun intended). My wildest guess is that
- It is playing low-profile until this AU golden jubilee mambo-jumbo settles down
- It is trying to dispel/downplay current reports by rights groups such Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch about its gross human-rights abuses
- It is waiting for the right time to unleash its brutality like it did before.