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  • Ethiopia's anti-government protest intensifies, internet access 'blocked' - Africanews

    The anti-government protest since last weekend in Gondar in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia has intensified and spilled over to other regions demanding a regime change in the country.

    Social media posts are calling on people to join in a repeat protest on Saturday in the Oromia region, while protests are also being scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in the Amhara region.

    Honorable Bekele Garba and political prisoners call upon all citizens to join tomorrow's nationwide 


     |  | 
    Tomorrow and the coming days, all the cumulated griefs will be poured on the streets.


    The protesters are demanding for the release of arrested activists while denouncing the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) led government affiliated to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) accused of marginalising the poor largest northern regions of Amhara and Oromia.

    Just as last Sunday’s protest that saw tens of thousands of people defy thousands of security forces deployed to stop them, government media said no permission has been given for this weekend’s demonstration, local media report.

    There are however unconfirmed reports of an internet blackout in the country ahead of the planned protests.

    Confirmed- internet is blocked in city ahead of 2morrow's  n Sunday's


    @Ethiopian govt has reportedly blocked internet access in Addis & Bahir Dar city ahead of z weekend protest 


    Friday protest

    Local Ethiopian television station, ESAT, reported that two people were shot dead by security forces and a soldier was killed during a violent protest in Gondar on Friday.

    It said that the protest was held at the city’s court house where one of the leaders of Sunday’s protest, Colonel Dameke Zewdu, was arraigned.

    View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

    Sit-in in . Defiant  refused to leave court premises. Demanded release of their leader.


    “Upon hearing that the Colonel was arraigned at the court, people flocked to the premises in their thousands calling for his release and denouncing the regime,” ESAT added.

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    Restricted Travel in Oromia Region

    The U.S. Embassy is monitoring recent social media reports of planned protests and demonstrations in the Oromia region this coming weekend of August 6-7, 2016.  The disseminated messages call for protests at all district and zonal level capitals across Oromia.

     The U.S. Embassy is restricting all personal travel by U.S. Chief of Mission employees in Oromia through August 7, 2016.  The U.S. Embassy anticipates that communications such as cellphone and internet could be disabled.  Travelers should anticipate traffic restrictions on main roads outside of major cities in Oromia due to road closures and gatherings, and an increased presence of federal police.

     The U.S. Embassy advises all U.S. Citizens traveling within the region to review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; avoid large gatherings and demonstrations and monitor local news stations for updates.  We also advise everyone to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.

    In the Oromia region, numerous protests have materialized with little to no prior knowledge. Regardless of where U.S. Citizens are traveling to, everyone should increase their level of situational awareness, continuously assess their surroundings, and evaluate their personal level of safety and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings.  Even demonstrations that begin as peaceful have the potential to turn violent. Individuals that encounter a demonstration while traveling should do the following:


    • Immediately remove yourself from the situation
    • Do not photograph the demonstration
    • If your hotel is at a safe distance from the protest, proceed to your hotel and shelter-in-place
      • Stay in your room or in a safe place
      • Contact and provide updates to your family and friends
      • While in your hotel do not blog about the protest
    • If you encounter a protest while driving, turn around and do not enter the protest


    U.S. Citizens with specific security related questions or concerns should contact the American Citizen Service team at consacs@state.gov.

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  • The 'Ethiopia rising' narrative and the Oromo protests - Aljazeera

    Oromos have been the victims of indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks in the hands of security forces.

    So much for the "Ethiopia rising" meme which Ethiopian authorities ostentatiously promote to camouflage the repressive nature of the state.

    A new report published by Human Rights Watch on the Oromo protests depicts a disturbing picture of a government that thrives on systematic repression and official violence.

    The report, which puts the death toll from the seven-month-long protest at more than 400, exposes the "Ethiopia rising" narrative for what it is: a political Ponzi scheme.

    Underneath the selective highlighting of Ethiopia's story of renaissance and transformation lies a Janus-faced reality in which the triumph of some has meant the utter submission of others.

    The Oromo protests are exposing the senseless suffering and brutality that lies beneath Ethiopia's rhetoric of development and revival.


    Long-simmering ethnic discontents


    After 25 years of absolute control over the country's public life, the ruling party is facing its biggest political challenge yet: an unconventional and innovative resistance to its iron-fisted rule.


    What is unfolding in the drama of this increasingly defiant and unprecedented protest is the subplot that producers and cheerleaders of the "Ethiopia rising" myth neither anticipated nor fully understood: the power of the indignant to wreak havoc and paralyse the state even as they were met with murderous official violence.


    Though the protest was initially triggered by the threat of displacement by Ethiopia's development policies - particularly the proposed expansion of the territorial limits of the capital, Addis Ababa, into neighbouring Oromo lands - this is not the sole reason and cannot provide an adequate explanation of the level of defiance on the streets of Oromia.


    Rather, the protest is a manifestation of long-simmering ethnic discontent and deeper crisis of representation that pushed Oromos to the margin of the country's political life.



    source : http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/06/ethiopia-rising-narrative-oromo-protests-160620140306460.html

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  • Ethiopia protests: What's behind the trouble in Gondar? - BBC

    Sunday's protest in Ethiopia involving thousands of people in Gondar, a city in Amhara region, is a rare example of an anti-government demonstration in the country.

    It was organised on social media but no group has taken responsibility for it. The demonstration comes two weeks after another protests in the city in which 15 people died, including members of the security forces and civilians.

    What's behind the protests?

    At the root of the recent demonstrations is a request by representatives from the Welkait community - known as the Welkait Amhara Identity Committee - that their land, which is currently administered by the Tigray regional state, be moved into neighbouring Amhara region.

    The Welkait committee says community members identify themselves as ethnic Amharas and say they no longer want to be ruled by Tigrayans.

    Demonstrations began a fortnight ago but leaders of the Welkait community have been asking for the move for a year.

    Amharas used to form the country's elite and the language remains the most widely spoken in the country.

    Is that the only issue?

    Observers say that Ethiopia's governing coalition is dominated by the party from the small Tigray region (TPLF), and some see the protests as a way of criticising the country's government.

    When Sunday's demonstration was organised on social media, no mention was made of other issues, but during the protest banners could be seen expressing solidarity with people from the Oromia region.

    Since November last year, the government has been dealing with a wave of protests in Oromia as people complain about alleged marginalisation. Those demonstrations began over a plan to expand the federal capital, Addis Ababa, into Oromia. That plan has been dropped, but the issue highlighted grievances with the government which have not gone away.

    The Oromos are Ethiopia's most populous ethnic group.

    People on Sunday were also calling for the release of a group of 18 Muslims who were imprisoned last year under controversial anti-terror legislation.

    Ethiopia's ethnic make-up

    • Oromo - 34.4%
    • Amhara - 27%
    • Somali - 6.2%
    • Tigray - 6.1%
    • Sidama - 4%
    • Gurage - 2.5%
    • Others - 19.8%

    Source: CIA World Factbook estimates from 2007

    Why are regional boundaries so important?

    When the current government came to power in 1991 after overthrowing the military dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam it introduced a federal constitution aimed at decentralising power.

    The regional states that were created were based on ethnicity and language.

    That has meant that ethnic identity has come to the fore in disputes over where regional boundaries should lie. These tensions have been witnessed in other parts of the country, not only in Amhara and Oromia.

    Is there a connection with other protests in the country?

    There is no formal connection between the protesters in Amhara and those in Oromia, but it does appear to represent a growing boldness amongst some people to challenge the government.

    Ethiopia's government has been criticised by rights groups for cracking down on protests and dissident voices and using anti-terror laws to silence people.

    In Amhara, the demonstration two weeks ago was sparked by the imprisonment of members of the Welkait Amhara Identity Committee.

    In the face of this apparent repression any anti-government demonstration can be seen as significant.

    How serious is this for the government?

    Two weeks ago, Ethiopia's federal government accused neighbouring Eritrea of being behind the unrest and strongly warned the country to refrain from its "evil actions".

    But so far there has been no word from the authorities in Addis Ababa about Sunday's protest.

    They may prefer for this to be handled at a regional level, and the Amhara government has commented.

    It said that the problems the protesters raised on Sunday were to do with good governance and it will try to address these.

    This echoed the response of the Oromia regional government earlier this year when it said it would address the grievances of the people there.

    For some observers, the Amhara protests appear to be part of a growing anti-government feeling, which the authorities are trying to contain.

    But with no opposition parties represented in parliament, this feeling is manifested in sporadic bursts of activity rather than a concerted campaign.

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  • Ethiopia’s ethnic Amhara stage mass anti-government protest

    Ethiopian authorities say at least a dozen people have been killed in clashes with police over the territorial dispute over the past weeks.

    Tens of thousands of people from Ethiopia’s ethnic Amhara group took part in an anti-government demonstration in the northern city of Gondar, local media said, the largest such gathering yet in a string of recent protests.

    The Amhara, who regularly complain of discrimination, have been angered by the government’s decision to place a local district under the administration of the neighbouring Tigray region.

    In videos shared on social media, the demonstrators were seen carrying signs that read: “Stop mass killing of Amhara people” and “Restore the historic border”.

    Gondar has for weeks been gripped by at times violent demonstrations over demands that the district, populated by the Welkait community, be returned to the Amhara region with which it has close ties.

    The Amhara people are Ethiopia’s second biggest ethnic group after the Oromo. Both groups say they suffer discrimination in favour of Tigrayans, who they say occupy the key jobs in the government and security forces.

    Ethiopian authorities say at least a dozen people have been killed in clashes with police over the territorial dispute over the past weeks.

    In one deadly incident earlier this month, police said five officers and two civilians were killed after Amhara activists opened fire while resisting arrest for “criminal activities”. Sunday’s rally passed off peacefully.

    Some of the protesters also used the occasion to express solidarity with the Oromo people, whose own demonstrations against alleged land appropriation left hundreds dead between last November and March, according to human rights groups. There was no immediate comment from the Ethiopian government on the latest protest.

    Government spokesman Getachew Reda, who could not be reached yesterday, has previously accused the Amhara protesters of “working in cahoots” with the Eritrean government in a bid to destabilise the country.

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  • Tens of thousands of protesters call for a regime change in Ethiopia - Africanews

    Tens of thousands of protesters have flooded the streets of Gonder in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia on Sunday demanding a change of government due to the unfair distribution of wealth in the country.

    The protest, reported to have been staged in defiance of a government order, is also in solidarity with the Oromia protests held between November last year to March 2016 in opposition to a government development plan in the region which could affect poor farmers.

    Images posted by protesters and other eye witnesses on social media show hundreds of thousands of people carrying Ethiopian flags and placards singing and chanting against the government’s regime.

    Some placards demanded the release of arrested activists during the Oromia protests while other protesters made the Crossed Arms Resistance gesture which was common during the Oromia protests.

    Some videos show the protest to be peaceful and so far no violence has been reported.

    Steered by the hashtags #AmharaProtests and #GonderProtests, the protesters bemoan the unfair distribution of wealth in the country and denounced the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) led government affiliated to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) militant party.

    The EPRDF has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the Oromia protests and also its intolerance towards the media and civil society.

    Thousands of students, social media activists, and opposition party leaders and supporters were arrested and dozens were charged under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) while hundreds remained in custody without charges.

    Human Rights Watch released a report in June estimating that over 400 Oromo protesters were killed in November 2015, and thousands others arrested by Ethiopian security forces during the protests.

    The government however disputed the figures and earlier in March, the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn blamed the death and destruction on “violent” protesters. He however apologized before parliament for “not listening to the concerns of the people”.

    The Oromia and Amhara are two of the nine ethnically based regional states of Ethiopia which are considered the poorest compared to the others.

    The protest is expected to build up in the coming days.


    source : http://www.africanews.com/2016/07/31/half-a-million-protesters-call-for-a-regime-change-in-ethiopia/

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  • Dispatches: Ethiopia’s Opposition Leaders on Hunger Strike - HRW

    It has been nine days since prominent Ethiopian opposition leader Bekele Gerba and several other senior members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) went on a hunger strike to protest their treatment in detention. Bekele, who is the deputy chairman of the OFC, and his colleagues are currently being held in Kilinto prison near Addis Ababa on terrorism charges. Their health has reportedly deteriorated significantly in recent days.


    Bekele and his associates were detained on December 23, 2015 and later charged under Ethiopia’s terrorism law for allegedly belonging to the banned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – a charge that is regularly used to silence ethnic Oromos who are critical of the government. They were first taken to the notorious Maekalawi prison, where torture and other ill-treatment are routine. Since moving to Kilinto, Bekele and his colleagues have repeatedly petitioned the courts to investigate their mistreatment in detention, to allow their families visiting rights, and to provide them with proper medication.


    Bekele is a staunch advocate of non-violence and is one of tens of thousands who were detained during the mostly peaceful proteststhat have swept through Oromia since November. Many of those who have since been released reported being tortured in custody.


    Since the protests began, the security forces have killed over 400 people, most of them students. Yet, there has been no meaningful investigation into the killings and no effort to hold security forces accountable. Instead, the state-affiliated Human Rights Commission in an oral report to parliament in June concluded that the level of force used by security forces was proportionate to the risk the forces faced, sending an ominous message to Ethiopians that security force members can shoot unarmed protesters with impunity.


    As it is clear that the Ethiopian government is either not willing or not able to conduct a credible investigation into the conduct of its security forces, there is increasing need for international involvement in any investigation.


    Unfortunately, the authorities’ failure to treat Bekele and his colleagues with the most basic respect for their rights is indicative of a government that shows little willingness to right the wrongs it has committed. Their continued detention sends a message to young Ethiopians that the government equates peaceful protest with terrorism, putting Ethiopia on a dangerous trajectory.


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  • The Virtue of Democracy: Barack Obama's half-brother to vote for DONALD TRUMP

    In a shocking admission that is set to raise eyebrows among the current American president's clique, Malik Obama says he plans to travel back to Maryland, US, to back Mr Trump. The 58-year-old accountant, who lives in Kenya, says it was his "deep disappointment" in his half brother's administration that led him to to recently switch to support the "party of Lincoln". His half-brother, Barack Obama, has served as President of the US for the Republicans' main political rival, the Democrats, since 2009. But Mr Obama turned his back on the Democrats after the scandal over Hillary Clinton's use of private email service while she was President Obama's Secretary of State. He said: "She should have known better as the custodian of classified information." Mrs Clinton is hoping to clinch the US presidential title when the American population goes to the polls in November.

    But Mr Obama said he is hedging his bets on billionaire businessman turned politician, Mr Trump. He told the New York Post: "I like Donald Trump because he speaks from the heart. "Make America Great Again is a great slogan. I would like to meet him." Mr Obama also blasted his half brother and Mrs Clinton over the killing of Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy, who he says was his best friend.

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  • Ethiopia’s Competitiveness in African Tourism

    In the late 1950s, Ethiopian Airlines launched an advertising campaign in the Western media that touted the ancient kingdom as Africa's "newest travel adventure." More than half a century later, the huge East African nation has yet to live up to that lofty billing. But it might not be much longer. The sights, the scenery, the culture are already there. Ethiopian's ancient orthodox Christianity has endowed the nation with thousands of churches and monasteries, some of them enshrined as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A succession of empire and kingdoms added medieval forts, palaces and tombs like the Gondar citadel and the towering stone stele of Axum.

    From Lake Tana and the Blue Nile to the red-rock Gheralta Mountains, the arid Danakil Desert and the lush Omo Valley, the landscapes are astounding and incredibly varied. Ethiopia's wildlife riches are also diverse, from typical African savannah animals in the south to unique indigenous creatures like the gelada baboon and Ethiopian wolf. The missing ingredient has always been infrastructure -- the kind of hotels, restaurants and service that tourism rivals like Kenya and South Africa mastered decades ago.

    "Tourism was on the back burner for a long time," says Solomon Tadesse, CEO of the Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO). "The country was going through major changes and the government's priorities were health, education, communication."

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  • Ethiopian Airlines Sought African Aviation Still Profitable

    There is still potential for commercial African airlines to exploit opportunities in the airspace, a top official of Ethiopian Airlines has said. Regional manager Abebe Angessa says investors who fear to join in the aviation industry in Africa are making a blunder.

    "The traffic in Africa is increasing by the day. But the question is: how many passengers are using native African national carriers? It is true that the aviation business is struggling, but if an aviation company strategizes, one can succeed," he said at the unveiling of Ethiopian Airlines' Airbus A350XWB at Entebbe airport recently. He added: "Incoming and outgoing traffic by local carriers makes only 18 per cent of all aviation activities in Africa. I think Africa is underestimated."

    He said that by bringing new aircraft, Ethiopian Airlines is trying to maintain a programme of improving its business. "Ethiopian Airlines is currently implementing at 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see the company become a leading aviation in Africa. And to do this, we always have to invest heavily in the state-of-art air carriers," he said.


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