Four civilians reportedly killed in Ambo after TPLF regime rigged votes to impose Marshal law
March 3, 2018
A day after the dominant party in the ruling coalition, TPLF, orchestrated vote rigging during an emergency parliamentary session to get its way to impose a state of emergency (SoE), people in Ambo and other towns in central Ethiopia took to the street to protest the Marshal law.
So far, at least four are confirmed dead in Ambo and more than ten are wounded, according to Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) who spoke to residents from the town on conditions of anonymity.
The residents were killed when loyal TPLF Agazi forces fired on protestors. Among the victims are a father and son; they are identified as Digafe Danda and Teressa Digafe. There were killed by a sniper shot.
Abdata Mitiku, reportedly an engineering student in Ambo college, is among those killed by Agazi forces in the town today. Among the wounded are, according to the source,members of the regional police.
Mothers of the wounded reportedly rushed to the hospital to see their sons taken to hospital after they are wounded by Agazi forces and were seen weeping and some struggling with tears.
Further west in Wollega, residents in towns like Gimbi and Nadjo also took to the street to oppose the SoE but no reports of causality are reported yet.
Roads from Holeta, which is just off the capital Addis Ababa, to towns in Wollega, western Ethiopia, is closed with rocks and burning used tires.
What triggered today’s protest?
Sporadic anti-government protests have been going on for nearly three years, this is just the recent non-stop one otherwise there has always been a protest against the regime, to demand political and economic changes.
Despite coercive actions that took the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians, the demand for change rather got bolder and the popular movement evolved to the point of demanding an end to Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) regime -something unthinkable in the past. In fact, protestors whether on University campuses or elsewhere would rather declare that their demands are not political in the past so as to avoid brutal repression. Now that era, it seems, is gone for good.
Towards the end of December 2017, the regime was forced to make a concession. A pledge to release all political prisoners and close down the torture chamber was one of the measures although it appeared to be too little and too late to content protestors. Even in that regard, although prominent opposition leaders and journalists were released, there are still many more languishing prisons across the country, including monks from Waldeba Monastery.
The opposition made it clear that restoring peace and stability in the country takes a meaningful political measure on the part of the regime including national dialogue with all stakeholders and even the formation of the transitional government.
The TPLF government, the name sounds a bit confusing for many foreigners as the ruling coalition is EPRDF for they are not aware of the hitherto total domination of TPLF over the coalition, reverted to a policy of intensive repression upon realizing that the appeasement measures failed to buy the hearts and minds of disenfranchised Ethiopians.
As a result, TPLF pushed for another Marshal Law which was decreed on February 16 under the name of “Command Post” and declared it effective from the day it was announced, bypassing the constitutional procedure that the introduced SoE draft need to go to parliament for approval before its implementation.
A week later, the “Command Post” ordered that Members of Parliament terminate their recess and show up at the parliament for an emergency meeting on March 2, the day Ethiopians were commemorating the 122 anniversary of Adwa victory. The motive was to make parliament approve the SoE.
As it turns out, 106 members of parliament never showed up. 88 Members of parliament voted against SoE. And 7 members of parliament abstained from voting. The constitutional provision of article 93 stipulates two-thirds of members of the parliament need to approve it for the SoE to be legal.
Based on the above figures, the Marshal law was not legally approved but pro-government media outlets declared that the SoE is approved.
The upshot of it was that residents in Ambo and other parts of Ethiopia took to the street to denounce vote rigging on SoE. TPLF government is responding to it militarily. The fear is that reckless pursuit to maintain and reconsolidate power on the part of the TPLF regime is taking the country in a direction of an outright civil war.
Today’s protest in Ambo came a day after Ethiopians celebrated the 122 anniversary of Adwa victory, Ethiopia’s triumph over invading Italian forces in 1896. Ambo had produced prominent Ethiopian patriots who took part in Battle of Adwa and later during the fives years of Fascist invasion between 1935 and 1941.
On grounds of implementing ethnic ideology as modus operandi and brutes of repression, many Ethiopians liken the TPLF regime to Fascist Italy.
Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena