Monday, December 6, 2021

Hundreds march in Washington to condemn the Ethiopian government on the first anniversary of the Tigre conflict

Hundreds of people marched in Washington on Thursday to condemn the Ethiopian government on the first anniversary of a deadly military clash with the military in the country’s northern Tigre region.

The VOA estimated that several hundred people attended peaceful protests organized by ethnic Tigrayans living in and around Washington. Protesters marched from the Capitol to the US Agency for International Development, then to the State Department, where a US Foreign Service official met and spoke with some of the organizers outside the building. There was no immediate word on what they discussed. The officer declined to speak to the VOA.

The demonstrators raised slogans accusing the Ethiopian government of committing genocide against the Tigreyan people and pushing them into famine. One of the organisers, Mesfin Reda, told VOA that he has relatives in Tigre.

“We want to make sure that we are the voice of those who are being killed in the dark,” he said.

Many marchers waved the red and gold flag of the Tigre region. Some joined the protest from as far away as the US West Coast states of California and Washington. He ended the march with a vigil near the White House and plans to gather for more protests in the US capital on Friday and Saturday.

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Thursday marked the first anniversary of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s deployment of troops to Tigre, a day before Tigre People’s Liberation Front forces captured military bases. The ensuing conflict has left thousands dead, several million displaced from their homes and 400,000 Tigre residents facing famine, according to a July 1 estimate by the United Nations.

A joint investigation published on Wednesday by the United Nations and the government-created Ethiopian Human Rights Commission found human rights violations committed by all parties to the conflict, including torturing civilians, gang rape and arresting people based on ethnicity. . UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said some of these abuses could be war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Prime Minister Abiy said on Wednesday he accepted the report despite some “serious reservations” and said it did not accuse the government of genocide or using food as a weapon. He said a civilian-military task force would be formed to investigate all allegations in the report.

Several hundred people join a march in Washington on November 4, 2021 to protest the Ethiopian government on the first anniversary of the war against the military in the country’s northern region of Tigre. (Sarah Fiesehe, VOA)

The joint report also included Eritrean troops allied with the Ethiopian Federal Army and the regional Amhara militia. However, the Eritrean government condemned the findings. Eritrean Information Minister Yemen Gebremeskel said the report “repeats a misleading narrative on the origins of the conflict – (that the war was started by the federal government!)” he said in a Twitter post. “If the Joint Investigation Team fails to correct this fundamental fact, then the credibility of its report cannot be taken seriously by any standard.”

The TPLF led Ethiopia’s ruling coalition for nearly 30 years, but lost control when Abiy took office in 2018 following anti-government protests. After Abiy’s relations with the TPLF soured, he accused him of centralizing power at the expense of Ethiopia’s regional states, a charge Abiy has denied.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman, who arrived in Addis Ababa on Wednesday to try to start negotiations between the warring sides, was waiting for meetings with members of Abiy’s government. The first day was “productive”. on Thursday.

But historian Gerard Prunier of the Paris-based Horn of Africa told the VOA’s South Sudan in Focus program that he doubts the prospect of Feltman’s success.

“Right now, both sides want to fight to the bitter end,” Prunier said. “Abi says we should all die defending Ethiopia, which means his government. And Tigrayan – it is clear they want to continue until they win. US Shuttle Diplomacy, I am sorry , not very useful at the moment. Once the shooting stops, maybe [it will be]”

Sarah Fisehy of the Tigrigna Service of the VOA Horn of Africa and John Tanza of the VOA South Sudan in Focus program contributed to the report. Some information has also come from AFP and Reuters.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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