Ethiopian Prime Minister faced staunch protest in Ambo

Ethiopian Prime Minister now seem to be seen as “habesha” and “neftegna” among radicalized qeerroo.

Ethiopian Prime Minister _ Abmo
A member of Defense force calming protesters in Ambo. Photo : social media

October 31, 2019

As Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed holds a town hall meeting in Ambo, along with his former boss Lemma Megersa who is currently serving as Defense Minister, radicalized ethnic Oromo youth, also known as qeerroo, took to the street to condemn the prime minister.  Oromo regional state acting president, Shimeles Abdissa was also present. 

“We are not allowed to attend an event that the Prime Minister was attending,’ is the reason for qeerroo to take to the street according to the DW Amharic report which cited an eye witness account Ambo – a town about 108 kilometers west of Addis Ababa. 

“Abiy is neftega. Abiy is habesha,” was among the slogans that protestors chanted. Neftegna, in radical ethnic Oromo nationalism as in the tradition of Oromo Liberation Front, is usually a reference to ethnic Amhara who are portrayed as “colonizers and oppressors” of ethnic Oromo historically. 

“Down Down Abiy; Down Down Team Lemma” is another slogan that the protesters chanted in the streets of Ambo. 

The  “peace-conference” event organized at Abebech Metaferia Hotel in Ambo town reportedly drew participants from West Shewa, Burayu, Holeta and from Ambo town itself, among others. 

The protesters said “it was qeerroo that advanced the question of Oromo people but was not allowed to participate in the meeting,” as reported by DW Amharic. 

Protesters were also heard saying that “Abiy is here[in Ambo] to lure us; he is not capable of administering us.” 

The government has deployed heavily armed defense force members in Ambo but no clash with the protesters is not reported. A picture shared in social media shows armed defense force members begging protesters to calm down. 

Ambo was one of the cities where dozens of people were massacred last week after radical ethnic Oromo nationalist activist wrote on his Facebook page that the government is removing guards that were assigned to protect him. 

On Wednesday, PM Abiy Ahmed and Lemma Megersa traveled to Harar and held a discussion with ethnic Oromo communities who raised skeptical questions regarding what they called “attempt to kill Jawar Mohammed.”

Both ethnic Oromo leaders gave assurance to members of the communities that they do not have the intention to kill Jawar Mohammed. They also stated that assigning security details for Jawar was their own initiative and that they consider him as a colleague in the struggle and will continue to work with him.

Their remarks came at a time when Ethiopians and human rights organizations are demanding the government to take measures legal measures against those are behind the massacre that claimed 78 lives. 

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