“Very Real Prospect” of Protest in Amhara Region of Ethiopia After Scores of Journalists, Politicans and Academics Were Arrested

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3-4-2018

There is a “real prospect of protest” in the Amhara regional state of Ethiopia in the next weeks if recently arrested Ethiopian opposition leaders, academics and media people are not released soon, our media monitoring of various sources suggest.

Ethiopian police have re-arrested recently released bloggers and journalists such as journalists Eskinder Nega, Temesgen Dessalegn, our own blogger Zelalem Workagegnehu, bloggers Mahlet Fantahun, BefeQadu Z. Hailu, and politicians and activists such as Andualem Arage, Woineshet Molla, Addisu Getaneh, Yidenehackew Addis, Sintayehu Chekol and Tefera Tesfaye on March 25, 2018. 

Similarly, young university professors and journalists were also detained on March 24, 2018 while they were eating their dinner. Added with the 19 academics, journalists and activists detained on Saturday in Bahir Dar, the total number of prominent people jailed last month reaches 30.

According to one source involved in Amhara protests, although many believe the new prime minister Abiy Ahmed should be given a chance, the lives and misery of prominenet Ethiopian activists is not to be given any chance or time, therefore, there is a “real prospect of protest” in the Amhara region and perhaps other neighbouring regions.

The Ethiopian regime had announced a State of Emergency in February 2018, which will stay effective for six – nine months. Ethiopia is now being governed by a militray consortium known as the Command Post.

“The new PM would only be a puupet to the militray Command Post unless the State of Emergency is lifted. Hence, the only way to get these activists released and earn respect is when the protesting public doesnot stop but continues.” he added.

The details of the protest types have not yet been made public but it is completely non-violent civil resistance. The protest is said to run for three days.

Last week, an Ethiopian Facebook group run from the US called for general strikes in Amhara and Addis Ababa regions from April 11-14, 2018 if prominent Ethiopian journalists, politicans and academics are not released within two weeks. The autenticity of this call has not yet been confirmed from local actors on the ground.

Days after the Ethiopian regime had announced a SoE banning protest in February 2018, Amhara Region’s capital, Bahir Dar & Gonder cities had held a successful three-day general strike. If effectivly implemented, the upcoming protest is going to be the sixth protest in the region within the past three years.