Ethiopian rally in Washington DC demanded freedom for jailed opposition leaders

February 16th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopian Review | Feb. 15, 2007

Hundreds of Ethiopians braved severe cold weather to attend a rally in Washington DC demanding the release of the political prisoners in Ethiopia, including leaders of the Coalition for Unity & Democracy Party (Kinijit), journalists, and members of civic groups.

The rally, organized by Kinijit-DC chapter, was held in front of the U.S. Capitol starting at 9 AM.

The keynote speaker at the rally was Ms. Helen Butler, Coordinator of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.

Ms. Butler read a resolution passed by the Martin Luther King Jr Human Rights Symposium.

Other speakers included Ato Berhane Mewa, Secretary General of Kinijit International Leadership, Ato Aklog Lemeneh, Chairman of Kinijit North America, Ato Obang Metho, Executive Director of the Anuak Justice Council, and Ato Yassin Kassim, a representative of the Ethiopian Somali Community.

The speakers appealed to the U.S. Congress to take a stand on the worsening human rights abuse in Ethiopia.

Ato Fekade Shewakena, member of the Kinijit DC Public Relations Committee, told Ethiopian Review after the rally that he doesn’t expect justice from the Woyanne regime, and that the only way to get justice is to get organized and fighting for it.

As the international community, particularly the U.S. Government–which gives hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to the Woyanne dictatorship–continues to turn its back on democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, Kinijit leaders are redirecting their focus on peaceful popular uprising at home. To that end, the Kinijit leadership last week has called for boycott of schools, Woyanne-controlled businesses, work slowdowns, and other peaceful means of protest.

Due to limited media access, the call by the Kinijit leaders is slow in reaching the people.

The Woyanne kangaroo court will hand down verdicts against Kinijit leaders next Monday, Feb 19.

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