By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
The Helsinki Cathedral and the statue of Alexander II of Russia as the backdrop, Ethiopians in Finland met at the Senate Square as their rendezvous and point for their protest march Thursday afternoon to inform the world about the endless killings of Ethiopians by the murderous Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) regime and appeal for action by the international community.
Finnish Ethiopians and Ethiopians resident in Finland Thursday afternoon September 1, 2016 held a rally in Helsinki, Finland, and condemned the cruelty and lawlessness by which Ethiopians are being massacred in Oromia and Amhara regions by the regime.
It would be recalled that on August 30, 2016, under the guise of ensuring respect for the law, a regime that lacks the ABC’s of respect for the law – be it national or international – through its prime minister has officially declared war against the Ethiopian people.
The prime minister could be heard from the audio hereunder ordering the Agazi commandoes – in the name of ensuring the ‘rule of law’ – while the regime’s motive is ethnic and wanting to rain bullets on citizens, supported by fire spitting modern automatic weapons.
In the last few days, the TPLF regime has already dispatched over 2,000 additional Agazi commandoes, supported by tanks, mortars and snipers.
It is understood that the national carrier, the Ethiopian Airlines has also been utilized for such criminal activities, including ferrying the commandoes and war materiel.
The protesters underlined that the only crime for which several hundred Ethiopians have been mowed down, tens of thousands injured with automatic weapons by the security forces since November 2015 is just because of their ethnic origins as Amharas and Oromos. These citizens have also been demanding the TPLF-run Ethiopian state to respect their fundamental human and civil rights, an end to land grab, Tigrean nepotism and lawlessness of the corrupt mafia regime.
In fear for Ethiopia’s stability and the wellbeing of its citizens falling into TPLF deathtraps and convinced by the possibility of the 1994 Rwanda-like inter-ethnic massacres, the protesters have called on the Government of Finland, as a democratic country, a member of the United Nations and the European Union (EU) to support the demand by the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner on August 10, 2016 with a view to helping ensure:
- (a) the implementation without delay of an international-standard investigation into the massacres by the regime of peaceful protesters; and
(b) the prompt release of the tens of thousands of Ethiopians that have been imprisoned for peacefully demanding respect for their legitimate rights.
Furthermore, the protesters have also demanded Finland to review its foreign policy toward the murderous TPLF-led regime and also to reconsider the use of its bilateral aid and those channeled through the EU into Ethiopia.
The organization of this rally, under the banner of #EthiopiaProtests, is the collaborative work of Amhara and Oromo Ethiopians. The population of the two regions are bearing the brunt of TPLF’s ‘enforcement of the rule of law’, which actually is a convenient cover for the TPLF’s executions of citizens.
In addition, collaborating in organizing this important rally are Ogadeni Ethiopians, whose representative had made a speech to the participants into the plight of women, who are constantly raped and the ongoing oppression in Ogaden – a region totally shut out from the media, foreigners and other Ethiopians.
At the rally, the Ogaden representative also pointed out that the region’s natural resources have been assigned to China, while the people are under state of deprivation.
The protest march end was in front of the Kiasma Museum at the city center. TEO’s best estimate is about 130-150 Ethiopians have taken part in the protest march.
On Tuesday, a letter was submitted to the Finnish Foreign Ministry, addressed to Deputy Prime Minster and Minister of Foreign Affairs Timo Soini. It was hand delivered to Ms Helena Airaksinen, the head of East and Southern Africa, who the next day flew to Ethiopia to assume her duties as Finland’s Envoy in the country.
In receiving the representatives of the Ethiopian community, she held extensive discussions, asking questions to learn about their concern and the country’s situation. At the meeting, she was accompanied by her successor in the post she just vacated.
In the meantime, it is learned from a Finnish travel advisory about the essential security precautions during travel to Ethiopia, the Finnish Foreign Ministry issued on September 2, 2016, parts of which have been rendered here through an official translation from Finnish.
In advising Finns during travels to and in Ethiopia, it suggests: (a) to use “extreme caution”, and (b) to “avoid altogether unnecessary travels”. In that regard, while in the case of Oromia, it advises the “use of extreme caution”, for Afar, Amhara, Gambella, Somali and Tigrai, the advisory recommends to “avoid unnecessary travels” at all.
In the assessment of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, Ethiopia is embroiled in ethnic tensions and conflicts. In part, the statement reads:
“Ethiopia has been in a rising internal unrests and conflicts , ethnicity as its main characteristic. Beneath the surface, the situation seems tense due to internal political problems and ethnic conflicts, as well as the regional situation in Somalia, South Sudan and between Ethiopia and Eritrea borders.”
In the case of Amhara and Oromia regions, the security precaution measure states:
“In particular, since July 2016 the situations in Oromia and Amhara regions have witnessed a number of deadly unrests and demonstrations. The situation is difficult in Amhara region, in particular in Bahir Dar and Gondar and the nearby localities. The main road may be closed in areas. It is advisable to avoid needless travels to those areas.
In addition, travelers are urged to ensure the safety of the route and the destination regions ahead of time. Also, the capital city of Addis Ababa, has witnessed demonstrations, which are broken up with the use of force.”