Oromo People’s demonstration was met with live ammunition – 140 dead
Sweden (Aftonbladet – translation) — In the short movies from Facebook sees lifeless bodies and terrified demonstrators fleeing shooting cops.
In November broke protests against a new urban plan is being developed for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. In the plan, farmland and several towns in Oromo region come to belong to the capital. The government responded to the demonstrations with live ammunition.
When the smoke dissipated had 140 dead and many more injured according to Human Rights Watch.
Freedom of assembly is one of the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution. But those who attempted this freedom have been jailed, shot or accused of terrorism. Despite the repression, the marginalized groups continued to express their frustration and anger.
Most recently the Oromo people. With its 35 million constitute the largest ethnic group in the country. Already in 2013, people demonstrated from the region to the new town plan. The government promised to listen to their views. But the excavators continued to work and no serious dialogue was launched, which led to today’s confrontation.
Despite the widespread protests there was very little written in the Swedish press that 140 unarmed protesters were killed in Ethiopia in November. One reason why is that so few independent media left in the country.
The hopeful is that more and more people are using their Facebook and Twitter accounts to testify about the abuse of human rights. But they are still few.
In December also spread the protests to the Amhara region. The government responded also with violence and accuse the opposition of being behind the violence.
Regeringsstyrkor dödade 140 i Etiopien
(Government forces killed 140 in Oromia/ Ethiopia)
”Offinsiv” are a political group and active supporter of social movements. They write in Swedish language on newspaper, http://offensiv.socialisterna.org/. The following article was translated using google translate.
140 people were killed by government forces deployed against mass protests in Ethiopia in December. Demonstrations against the government was going to seize agricultural land spread rapidly and was a great support.
The government has now, in January said that the earlier plans for a new regional division has been shelved. If this is enough to stop further protests remains to be seen.
As with similar mass demonstrations in the spring of 2014 launched the protests of students in Oromoregionen. The planned new division (Integrated Master Plan) would merge parts of the Oromo in the capital Addis Ababa, where a “företagszon” would be established. Farmers and poor people would have lost their land and thus their livelihood. Previously, over a million Ethiopians driven away when the land has been exploited. The poor peasants are not the legal owners of the land – it belongs to the state, which has also used the military to take over land areas.
This time the protests more extensive than previously. The movement was widely supported and involved not only Oromo – the largest ethnic group in the country – but also other ethnic groups. Even more provinces were affected. A common message in the protests, including from Ethiopians in exile, is to stay together and not accept the split.
140 people were killed, most of them students, by government forces. Opposition media say that the 2000 injured, 30 thousand have been arrested and 800 disappeared. Known critics of the regime are among those who have been arrested or disappeared.
Concerns about losing their land is very justified. The regime leases fertile farmland and water resources to multinational corporations and other states. This activity has resulted in the country right now are threatened with starvation. A total of seven million hectares have been sold – an area the size of Belgium.
The regime’s harsh response underscores that the refugees who have managed to get to Sweden can not be sent back without risking arrest, torture or death. ■