ERA OF POPULAR POLITICS HERALDS IN TRAGEDY




Saturday was a historical day. It started with throngs of people chanting and jogging their way to Mesqel Square for a support rally for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD). The jubilance by the crowd was matched with scenes that would have been idiosyncratic three months ago – where the Ethiopian flag was flown without its emblem, and the Oromia Media Network (OMN) reported from Addis Abeba.

Abiy showed up, casually dressed, to address the crowd that gathered. In his speech, he emphasised the need for liberty, security and prosperity for the Ethiopian people. Shortly thereafter a loud bang was heard that cut the rally short.

The bang was an explosion, which the Prime Minister said was intentionally perpetrated and added that the findings of the police investigation would be made public. As the crowd dispersed, graphic images of victims of the attack became public.

One-hundred-and-fifty-six people were injured and taken to medical centres including Black Lion, Zewditu, and six other hospitals, according to Amin Aman (MD), minister of Health. There was one official report of fatality when this paper went to print. The day was a stunning conclusion to a week that saw notable political developments.

On Monday, Abiy appeared before parliament, where he defended economic reform agendas, the release of thousands of prisoners and the concessions made to Eritrea. He also acknowledged the use of torture by law enforcement bodies.

In the middle of the week, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afeworqi’s decision to send a delegation for talks was made public. It was in response to a decision by the Executive Committee of the EPRDF to implement the rulings of the Boundary Commission with no preconditions.

A day before the Saturday rally, the overseas-based opposition party, Patriotic Ginbot-7, announced that it would suspend armed resistance, on the back of a statement by the authorities to allow access to 264 previously blocked websites, blogs and TV stations. YOU CAN READ THE FULL STORY HERE.



Published on Jun 24,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 948]


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