Ethiopia: Massive protest held in Gondar city

Tens of thousands marched in Ethiopia’s northwestern city of Gondar on Sunday morning.

Residents descended to the city center “piazza” around 9 am. The rally lasted until noontime.

In placards and chants, the protesters denounced what they see as putting Amhara people at a disadvantage.

Among the slogans in the protest: “Restore the historic border”, “Wolqait is Amhara”, “Qimant and Amhara are one” and “Return the land given to Sudan”. (See: Backgrounder: Unrest in Gondar city)

The protesters demanded: “Respect for Amhara-ness”, “Amhara is not terrorist”, “Stop mass killing Amhara people” and an end to alleged TPLF dominance in the region.

Photo - Gondar city protest, July 31
Photo – Gondar city protest, July 31 [Credit: Social media]

The city was hit by protests and violence two weeks ago. Shooting broke out when the Anti-Terrorism Taskforce moved to detain a group of individuals including those known as organizers of a movement for the reassignment of Wolqait district from Tigray region to Amhara region.

The task force claimed the individuals were wanted for crimes, while the supporters of the movement deemed it as a political crackdown. The clash left eleven security officers and five civilians dead. It was also accompanied by ethnic violence in the city and in the nearby town Debark.

The government refused to authorize demonstrations planned for last Sunday and today, claiming the city is yet unstable. The protesters went ahead with the protest today anyway.

The protesters, mindful of the bad reputation of the previous unrest, held slogans that their problem is with the government not the people of Tigray.

The protesters also held slogans showing solidarity with Oromo Protests, detained Muslim activists and the ailing politician Habtamu Ayalew.

The government deployed federal police and army detachment. Yet, no major incident was reported.

Though activists have been calling for similar demonstrations in nearby towns, it was not clear whether those rallies took place at the writing of this news.


Daniel Berhane

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