- Bahir Dar and Gonder Airports have been affected by the strikes.
- The strikes have been so far non-violent stay-away protests.
- A grenade exploded in Gonder city yesterday killing and wounding several government Federal police officers.
Three days after the Ethiopian government declared a draconian State of Emergency (SoE) banning freedom of assembly, expression, protest and issuing curfews across Ethiopia by justifying that the Ethiopian people called for it, Amhara Region’s Capital City Bahir Dar and Gonder have started a general strike today. Shops, business, government offices and transportation have all been closed and out of service.
The strike was launched by a group by little known Amhara activists calling for the release of all Amhara prisoners of conscience across the country. Fliers and posters were distributed in Bahir Dar and Gonder last week but some popular Amhara activists, based in the Diaspora, distanced themselves from the call on social media. Today social media News sources and activists have said the strike is opposing the SoE.
The strike will remain until Wednesday.
The TPLF led EPRDF regime announced on Friday that security forces will take arbitrary measures against anyone taking part in protest, publishing or distributing anything that calls for a protest or trespass any of the 18 articles in the SoE.
It is unclear what kind of measures the Command Post, which is effectively administrating the country, will take against the protesting population in Bahir Dar and Gonder.
A week before protesters in Oromia region of Ethiopia applied a similar type of general strike which affected businesses and transportation in the country, as a result of which, Oromo opposition politicians such as Bekele Gerba were immediately released despite court sentences.
The EPRDF government has lost the authority and the legitimacy to rule the country, said Diaspora based activist. The Amhara and Oromo regions, which contain the country’s majority population, have bravely defied the government bringing it down to its knees and forcing to release opposition politicians. Emboldened protesters have continued their protest asking the government to step down or negotiate with popular opposition forces.
The EPRDF government has been in power since 1991 after toppling the military dictatorship of Mengistu Hailemariam.
Around 28 Ethiopian opposition forces based in Addis Abeba and abroad have been meeting in Seattle, USA for the past two days to come with some united voice and solution.
The first round of peaceful general strike in Bahir Dar and Gonder occured in August 2016, this is going to be the fifth general strike after the fourth general strike was held in August 2017 to remember the first year of the victims of the 2016 EPRDF government’s Bahir Dar massacre.
The US government released robust statement on Saturday saying that it “strongly disagrees” with the declaration of the SoE. The European Union (EU) in a statment today said the SoE undermines the objectives of “constructive dialogue among all stakeholders – authorities, opposition, media, civil society – will allow for a peaceful and durable resolution of the crisis.”
Despite reports last week that Welkait Amhara identity activist Colonel Demeke Zewdu was to be released from Gonder Prison after his charges were dropped, he has not yet been out of jail. Amhara Mass Media Agency (AMMA) just reported in the afternoon that Demeke Zewdu and his colleagues have been released from jail.
Photo Credit: Addis Gazzeta