Addis Ababa saw an even bigger demonstration by opposition party

(Borkena) Just a week after Semanyawi party staged opposition rally in Addis Ababa, Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party put together an even bigger opposition rally today.

Mobilization for the rally started soon after the rally got permission from the city administration. Obtaining permission from the city administration involves overwhelming hassle even harassment which is not supposed to be the case if the constitution was to be taken for its words ; the right to peaceful demonstration is a constitutional entitlement. Yet, demonstration was banned for years following the massacre in Addis Ababa in 2005.

Turn out in today’s rally was good bigger by recent standards. Demonstrators condemned government for essential services-which should have been guaranteed by any means, in the city.

The city administration, which is totally political and under the command of the ruling TPLF party, has got major problems, close to paralysis, when it comes to providing tax payers with services like electric power and water supply. Phone lines,home phone and cell phones, are problematic on a regular basis.

Worse, the problems with services seem to be related to political power and control over residents rather than problems related to incapacity. Yet, often times the pretext is “expansion and construction works” in the city.

Yet, more than anything the demonstration is about opposing repression and tyranny. In fact demonstrators have braved the unpredictable ruling party which has turned out to be fully totalitarian. Press freedom is nearly nonexistent. Member of opposition parties are harassed, imprisoned even sometimes killed in areas outside of Addis Ababa.

Jurnos with dissenting voices are thrown to jail with no legal procedures what so ever and are usually held incommunicado for months.

About a week ago government jailed a group of bloggers and a journalist. Civilians in Gondar were killed simply for protesting demolition of their houses. Dozens of University students in Oromigna speaking parts of Ethiopia were killed simply because they voiced their concern about new master plan for the city of Addis Ababa.

Demonstrators condemned government for its crack down on journalists and students.

To expect that government will respond positively to this demonstration could be unrealistic. But it seems the case the opposition political parties are demonstrating more determination to firmly demand the government to respect constitution. More demonstrations seem to come in the coming weeks and months.

By Dimetros Birku

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