By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
Africanews reports anti-Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) protesters have remobilized in the northern Ethiopia’s historic city of Bahir Dar on Sunday to continue the nationwide protests that were marked by violence on Saturday in the capital Addis Ababa, almost all parts of Oromia and the of Amhara region.
There are reports of heavy gunfire in Bahir Dar, which is also the capital of the Amhara region.
In a news article, ESAT wrote tens of thousands of residents of Bahir Dar flooded the streets of this major town in northern Ethiopia in the early hours of Sunday and denounced the tyrannical rule of the TPLF regime.
Social media report, at least, 67 people were killed during Saturday’s clashes with the police in the Oromia region alone. The protesters in Amhara and Oromia are calling for a regime change. Africanews writes a huge number of Ethiopia have been arrested, citing the AFP as its source.
ESAT also noted, citing social media, the protesters were chanting slogans condemning years of oppression by the minority rule of the TPLF. The Bahir Dar protesters were also expressing solidarity with their compatriots in Gondar and Oromia region, who are gallantly fighting the brute forces of the regime.
The protesters accuse the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)-led government affiliated of marginalising the poor largest northern region of Amhara and Oromia, the largest ethnic group and the backbone of the country’s economy. They also demand the release of all political prisoners and an end to genocide in Oromia.
“This is a mass civil disobedience movement that is not being organized by political parties. People are tired of this regime and express their anger everywhere,” a popular Ethiopian opposition figure and chairman of the Oromo People’s Congress, Merera Gudina, told AFP.
On Friday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced a ban on demonstrations in vain; his authorization of the use of force by the security forces has also gone unheeded.
The outcome has been disastrous for the civilian population especially the youth, with the regime bent on staying in power by force and bullets. Actual number of today’s casualties nationwide, substantial as they may be, cannot be reported due to the cut in internet connectivity throughout the country, even denying access to state-owned news outlets that are stuck on their Saturday pages.
Is there any justice? We know that it does not exist in Ethiopia. Even the United Nations has shut its eyes in the faces of this mass murder. What they a not realizing is that the people of Ethiopia have had enough of the abuses and the corruption of the TPLF regime and those bidding its will.
Regarding the international silence, Awol Allo a Fellow in Human Rights at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics, Saturday wrote on African Arguments:
“As the US began to define its foreign and human rights policy through the lens of fighting terror − entering a period of post-truth and post-moral politics in which sacrificing people in distant places in return for security became fair game − this emerged as the paradigmatic threat upon which the West’s fears and anxieties were projected. This made its ally Ethiopia completely impervious to criticism, even as the government used its grotesque anti-terrorism law to crush dissent, decimate the opposition, muzzle the media, and shrink civic space extinction – all the while holding periodic elections.
Just as terrorism in the West is entangled with religion, terrorism in Ethiopia is entangled with ethnicity. And Oromos have been the primary victims of Ethiopia’s cynical appropriation of the cultural referents and resonances of the War on Terror.”
Of the TPLF’s 2009 anti-terrorism law, the United Nations Human Rights Council during its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2014 and even its allies and bankrollers have officially distanced themselves; see United States statement.
That is the mystery behind the current Oromo uprising in the heart of the nation’s capital city and against the injunction by the prime minister, about which Awol Allo observes:
“Since assuming state power in 1991, the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) has sought to exploit historic disagreements between the Oromos and Amharas, the second largest ethnic group, to sustain the hegemony of ethnic Tigrayan elites. The TPLF framed longstanding Oromo demands for equality and justice as the greatest threat to Ethiopia’s unity and regional stability, and it used historic antagonisms between Oromo and Amhara as a political instrument to legitimise, justify, and consolidate its political and economic hegemony. The “Oromo question” became the quintessential Ethiopian problem.
Within this frame, Oromos are presented as narrow-minded, extremist, and exclusionary, while the Amharas are presented as chauvinist and violent. By producing crisis between the two groups, the current TPLF-led system presented itself both locally and internationally as the only moderate centrist force that can secure Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity from the secessionist threat of the Oromos and the perceived far-right extremism of the Amharas.”
Awol concludes by pointing out:
“The [TPLF]’s violent response to peaceful demands has led protestors to demand more radical and systemic change. The #Oromoprotests are no longer a single-issue movement. This is unchartered territory for the country and how the government reacts could go a long way to determining its fate. But today’s protest makes it clear that there can be no more business as usual for Ethiopia’s ruling elites.”