Organizing massive demonstration in Addis Ababa would have caused trouble, if not death and arrest, when power was under tight grip of Tigray People’s Liberation Front(TPLF), not any more apparently. Huge pro-Abiy Ahmed rally is organized for this Sunday.
The organizers held a press conference today in the capital to explain what they seek to achieve from it. The organizing committee is composed of six volunteers who initiated the idea to demonstrate support for prime minister Abiy Ahmed and his administration. In fact, Ethiopian activists in the opposition quarter have been discussing the importance of the rally on social media for weeks now.
Kinfemichael Abebe ( also known as Abebe Kesto), who was released from kaliti prison when government decided to release political prisoners a few months ago, Gudeta Gelelcha and Seyoum Teshome, a blogger and lecturer at Ambo University (was also arrested and released recently) are among the organizers.
Seyoum Teshome sees the event as an exercise of democratic right ; freedom of expression.
Organisers told Deutsche Welle Amharic service that the event is free from political party, ethnic or religious affiliation. The purpose is, they say, to thank prime minister Abiy Ahmed for what he has been doing in the last three months and to ensure that he knows he has the support of the Ethiopian people.
The prime minister’s demonstrated interest in transparency, quality service delivery,unity of Ethiopia and zero tolerance for corruption earned him respect among Ethiopians. His administration also worked to ensure the release of all political prisoners including those who were put on death row. Andargachew Tsige, British citizen who was abducted from Yemen, told BBC last week that the prime minister told him that his release came after he threatened to resign if he is not released. Abiy Ahmed also managed to have notable gains in the diplomatic front and secured the release of thousands of Ethiopian migrants in the prisons of neighboring countries and from prisons the middle eastern countries as well. Last week, the prime minister hosted United Arab Emirates Crown prince and secured US$1 billion in financial assistance to ease foreign currency shortage and US$ 2 billion in investment deals.
Apart from showing support for the new prime minister, the rally aims to demand peace. The focus on peace is informed by the understanding that the former TPLF forces are planning a reactionary move to reverse reform measures which are believed to make way for a fundamental change in the country. In a ten minutes televised message last week, Abiy Ahmed asked Ethiopians to guard the relative peace that Ethiopia is having after three years of protest and he made it public that individuals and groups are orchestrating conflicts in different parts of the country.
The prime minister is not alone in that. Analysts link ethnic based conflicts in different parts of Ethiopia in the last few months to Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and tend to think that the party is orchestrating them so as to make the situation in the country ungovernable to Abiy Ahmed administration.
The rally on Saturday will start at 7 a.m. local time and will take place at Mesqel Square. In addition to residents of Addis Ababa, horsemen from the surrounding areas are expected to flock to the capital.
Authorities in Addis Ababa already granted permit for the event and law enforcement units are expected to be deployed to maintain order.
People liken the coming rally to the one that was staged in 2005 in support of Coalition for Unity and Democracy, which was a popular opposition movement back then.
Enthusiasm for the upcoming rally is running high and Ethiopians vow to carry the flag they love which was outlawed the TPLF led government.
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