On the second day of the three days anti-government protest called in Ethiopia mainly effective in Oromia region, the TPLF/EPRDF run government was forced to release one among the many opposition party leaders held in jail, Bekele Gerba. Although the government promised to release journalist Eskinder Nega and opposition politician Andualem Arage last week before the protests began yesterday in most towns and cities of Oromia region, it quickly released Bekele Gerba and six of his colleagues:Gurmessa Ayana, Addisu Bulala, Dejene Tafa, Getu Garuma, Tesfaye Liben and Beyene Ruda, whom were not included in the offical release list.
They were also released a day before the government announced they would be freed, Wednesday February 13, 2018.
Eskinder Nega and Andualem Arage refused to sign a conditional pardon letter last week and their fate is still unknown. Bekele Gerba, Deputy Leader of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) was reportedly released without any precondition due to increasing protests in the Oromia region.
Despite a senetnce two weeks ago by the court to jail Bekele and six of his colleagues to six months in jail for contempt of court, the TPLF/EPRDF government released them today.
Bekele’s case shows the regime succumbed to the presistent pressure and protest of the people.
There are now reports that protesters have decided to suspend the protest following the release of Bekele and co.