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Journalists and a political activist arrested as prime minister Hailemariam talks about ending state of emergency

New arrests : Journalists Anania Sorri and Elias Gebru, and activist Daniel Shibeshi

borkena, Ethiopia News
November 18,2016

As Hailemariam Desalegne hints end of state of emergency soon ,on grounds that “normalcy”is restored in Ethiopia, the board that is presiding over the state of emergency arrested journalist and activists.

Anania Sorri and Elias Gebru (both journalists and activists) and Daniel Shibeshi,who was one of leaderships in what was Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ),are arrested today. .

Deutsche Welle radio Amharic service spoke, on the phone, to the wife of Anania Sorri to confirm the news and she confirmed that they are indeed arrested.

At the height of popular protest that shook the core of the regime in power and about a week or so before deceleration of state of emergency, Anania sorry was on pro-ruling party media platform, Fana, with seemingly pro-ruling party journalists to share his view about origins of widespread unrest in Ethiopia.

In the interview, Anania Sorri boldly singled out difference based ethnic federalism and TPLF’s lust for maintaining power at the expense of the existence of Ethiopia as a country as the principal causes for the crisis – which later led to deceleration of state of emergency. He was widely hailed in social media as brave for speaking out in a situation when Tigray People’s Liberation Front government is killing Ethiopians who were protesting pretty much on similar grounds. (watch video below)

Video credit : Fana

Apart from being a journalist, Anania Sorri is active on social media and he is known among Ethiopians in social media as one of critical voices against the minority ethno-chauvinist regime from Tigray.

Elias Gebru is also one of the few Ethiopians known for advocacy journalism and was arrested at least once in the last two years. He has thousands of followers on facebook.

There is no statement, as is the case very often, from the part of the ruling party as to why these journalists and the politician Daniel Shibesi are arrested.

Elias Gebru

The state of emergency restricted, rather legalized restriction be to accurate, freedom of expression including activities on facebook like commenting and liking posts.

Befekadu Hailu, a member of Zone-9 bloggers is arrested last week apparently on grounds of interview he had with the Amharic service of Voice of America.

Regime announced last week that more than 11,000 Ethiopians are arrested after the state of emergency is declared, figure is contested. But there is a claim that the number of arrest is much higher.

Social media report also indicate that massive arrest is underway in Gonder region of Ethiopia since yesterday and the target is the youth.

What people read in the new arrest

Before the state of emergency the regime visibly appeared shaky and just weeks before its demise. As an effort to reverse the course, while mounting repression under state of emergency legislation, regime tried to paint an image of readiness for political reforms and introduced new cabinet- it is rather seen as an insult to Ethipians.

In reality, the regime emerged more militarized after the sate of emergency. New, but usual in some sense, repressive measures, for the regime, is about showing its “strength” and “control” of situations that appeared uncontrollable a few weeks back.

In belligerent moves,manifested in the form of making new arrests of journalists, people seem to see proclivity to demonstrate consolidated power after the popular unrest.

How durable is their power to show military strength and exploit outright repression as a basis of governance is something time will show us.



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