Ethiopian Security Authorities are reportedly intensifying a crackdown in the capital, Addis Ababa, targeting youths before the planned peaceful anti-war demonstration.
The news of youths being detained in various neighborhoods within Addis Ababa surfaced following random house-to-house searches conducted on Sunday night this week.
Yosef Teshager, one of the organizers of the planned anti-war peaceful demonstration, informed Anchor Media that the committee received reports of numerous youths being detained and taken to prison facilities across different parts of the city. Neighborhoods like Ferensay Legcion have been notably affected, focusing on actively engaged youths.
The exact number of young men arrested thus far remains unspecified.
Despite government warnings against organizing the banned peaceful demonstration, the organizers are steadfast in their commitment to proceed as planned. “We are working on it although we are under heavy pressure. We are receiving information that they are detaining youth in mass and taking them to prison,” Yosef told Anchor Media.
The organizers, composed of opposition political leaders and activists, perceive the government’s crackdown as an attempt to dissuade, in an intimidating way, Addis Ababa residents from participating in the peaceful demonstration, potentially creating a false impression of support for the government’s war measures in the Amhara and Oromia regions.
According to the Ethiopian constitution, peaceful demonstrations are permitted provided organizers notify relevant government bodies, including the security apparatus, 48 hours before the event. The Anti-War Peaceful Demonstrations scheduled for December 10 claim to have submitted a notification letter to Addis Ababa City authorities 12 days prior, with confirmation of receipt. However, as of now, the organizers have not received any response.
Credible local news outlets have reported threats received by the organizers from security authorities. Yosef acknowledged potential risks, stating, “Anything could happen, but we are prepared to make sacrifices. Ethiopia cannot afford to remain in a state of war,” emphasizing the organizers’ stance. The prospective protest aims to advocate for an end to the ongoing conflict and seeks negotiation to resolve political disputes within the country.
Some express skepticism regarding the effectiveness of peaceful demonstrations at this juncture. Desalegne Birara, an analyst with ABC Amhara TV, commented, “I do not expect something good from it,” underscoring the necessity for a willing government to heed the people’s voices. He cited previous demonstrations that went unanswered.
In a recent parliamentary session, the Ethiopian Prime Minister criticized Fano forces, without naming names, for not “pursuing peaceful means.” However, instances of crackdowns on political dissent and journalists persist, including reported harsh conditions for detained members of parliament whose immunity was not lifted by the parliament.
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