Gonder is set to stage peaceful demonstration this Sunday -July 31,2016. The purpose is to demand the release of committee member of “Wolqaite Question” whom the government threw to prison with allegations of “terrorism.”
It it not like the question is now relegated to “release prisoners.” The popular movement is demanding therelease of Wolqaite Question Committee members while not backing off from Wolqaite Question itself. In that regard, the demonstration will demand the government to address the legal and constitutional identity question of people in wolqaite.
Based on reports on social media from sources close to developments in Gondar, preparation is finalized and authorities are notified about the demonstration 72 hours before the demonstration takes place as required by the constitution.
Tigray Regional State Government, organized a demonstration in Wolqaite – a contested region which used to be part of Gonder region until the coming to power of the regime in power.
It is not possible to tell whether the demonstration will take place peacefully as planned or marred by violence. For the past experiences, virtually no peaceful demonstration went well ; demonstrations turn into violence and claim lives of tens and hundreds of citizens.
While staging a peaceful demonstration is a constitutional right, the regime in power tends to bulldoze it as it pleases.
According the report by Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), it is safe to speculate that the movement in Gonder is determined not to be persecuted by the forces of the regime if there is a plan to move the way it has been done in the past. Gonder is rather ready to respond to forceful military by the regime to to stifle peaceful demonstration.
The movement was sparked a fortnight ago following attempt by Tigray region security forces to abduct members of Wolqaite Question committee under the guise of an alleged “arrest warrant” by court. Later, it was claimed that security forces were from Federal government, not from Tigray regional government.
Leaked information released by ESAT indicates that 19 members of security forces of the regime were killed following an exchange of fire between committee members of Wolqaite Question on the one hand and regime security forces on the other. The figure that the regime announced on state media was only 11. In addition,five civilians are killed as a result of the exchange of fire.
There is similar tension in Oromia region of Ethiopia.
Even personalities like General Tsadkan Gebre Tinsay- an ethnic Tigre who fought for the cause of Tigray People’s Liberation Front and held the position of defense chief of staff after the guerrilla forces took power- is advising the regime that repressive measure is not the way forward and that Ethiopia is dangerously at a cross road if the approach continues to be dictatorial.
Cover Photo : File