Thousands of residents of Gonder flocked to Colonel Demeke Zewdu ‘s residence defying state of emergency
It is confirmed that Colonel Demeke Zewdu, chair of Wolkait Identity question committee, is released from Gonder prison today.
Huge number of residents of Gonder turned out flocked to his residence outside of his house in Gonder despite imposed state of emergency which the US embassy in Addis Ababa condemned in a statement issued yesterday.
Colonel Demeke has been in prison since 2016 after he resisted Tigray security forces’ illegal attempt to arrest him from his residence night time and take him to Tigray. In the ensuing exchange of fire, he reportedly shot dead one of the security forces and wounded another one from the premises of his home.
There were several attempts by the federal government to transfer him from Gonder prison to maekelawi torture chamber in Addis Ababa but the residents of Gonder were fiercely resisting the move and managed to defend him.
There were protests in the region,specially in Gonder, demanding for his release but snipers deployed by the regime in power slain dozens of youth.
In a brief statement Demeke Zewdu gave to Amhara Mass Media Agency (AMMA), he said “I feels good. I am happy. I thank the people of Amhara,specially the people of Gonder. The youth paid in life for me”
He also thanked Amhara regional state,law enforcement and prison authorities for adhering to the law.
At the core of the resistance was the question of Wolkait, which used to be part of Gonder region before Tigray People’s Liberaiton Front took power in 1991. Thereafter, the regime settled hundreds of thousands of Tigray speakers and imposed a Tigray ethnic identity on the people of Wolkait.
The Federal government and Tigray regional state believe that the question of Wolkait is already addressed but residents think otherwise.
Colonel Demeke Zewdu was among the committee members who were fiercely but legally rejecting imposition of Tigre identity on Wolkait.
The rest of Wolkait identity question Committee members were taken to federal prison,specicially Maekelawi torture chamber.
Meanwhile, there was a reported strike in Gonder and Bahir Dar cities. Business centers remain closed and streets were deserted according to eye witness accounts who shared information on social media.
The strike is meant to be a response to the state of emergency which legalized repression and curtailed freedom of expression including exchange of information.
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