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HomeEthiopian NewsAddis Ababa Balderas Press Conference prohibited due to security concern, says gov.t

Addis Ababa Balderas Press Conference prohibited due to security concern, says gov.t

The office of the prime minister seem to have plans to hold talks with Balderas Addis Ababa Council leader, Eskinder Nega.

Nigusu Tilahun_ Balderas _ Addis Ababa
Nigussu Tilahun, Press secretary in the office of the Prime Minister
Photo credit : Fana

March 30,2019

Office of the prime minister disclosed on Saturday that it did not allow Balderas Addis Ababa Council planned press conference to take place due to security.

It was planned to take place at Ras Hotel starting 9:30 a.m. in the morning.

Diplomats, activists and journalists were trickling to the venue when police arrived at the scene and dispersed them saying that police is carrying out “order from higher government authority”

Now it seems that the order came directly from the office of the prime minister.

Press Secretary in the office of the prime minister, Nigussu Tilahun, told Fana Broadcasting Corporate (government affiliated media) that the event organized by Balderas Council, which is headed by Eskinder Nega, had to be cancelled on grounds of security consideration. Factors that made the government to think that there is security concern is unspecified.

Yet, Nigussu Tilahun, in an effort to elaborate Abiy Ahmed government’s reason as to why the press conference had to be stopped, said that there was a concrete evidence of security concern and that the event would have led to violence.

The press secretary,however, admitted that a journalist should not be prohibited from organizing press conference.

The Prime Minister’s office will hold conversation with Eskinder Nega and organize press conference in the future, he said, as reported by Fana Broadcasting.

Balderas Addis Ababa Council was established after radical Oromo ethno-nationalist elements claimed ownership of Addis Ababa. But many Ethiopians were alarmed more when Oromo Democratic Movement issued a statement on March 7 vowing that it will work to ensure ethnic Oromo ownership of Ethiopia’s capital.

Balderas advocates that Addis Ababa belongs to all Ethiopians and Addis Ababans, not to a single ethnic group in the country. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed recently reflected similar position, but in a murky way, against the position of his party, ODP.

Lemma Megersa, former boss of prime minister Abiy Ahmed and currently president of Oromia, dismissed on Saturday allegations of plots to change demographic composition of Addis Ababa. He says that it is a story invented for character assassination. But it is clear, unlike last year, that he has lost a considerable number of support base outside of Oromo region of Ethiopia.

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