Radical Oromo mob took down Ethiopian flag at the Embassy in London

Ethiopian Embassy staff attack by radical Oromo mob said to be in a stable condition

A portion of radical Oromo mob that took down the Ethiopian flag brawls with London police. Photo : screenshot from a video circulating on social media

August 25, 2020

Toronto – A mob of Radical ethnic Oromo nationalist took down the Ethiopian flag at the Ethiopian Embassy in London and replaced it with the flag Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) — which is linked to the assassination of singer Hachalu Hudnessa at the end of June 2020.

An Amateur video footage circulating on social media shows a man climbing up the embassy, with the guidance of the crowd standing outside the embassy, and taking down the Ethiopian flag. The video also shows London police watching the incident without taking a deterring action.

The Ethiopian embassy has blamed the London Police for the incident saying that it could have been stopped had the police acted, as reported by Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT).

Rosa Yerukneh, acting Charge d’Affairs at the embassy, said that the Ethiopian government flag was restored with the help of the police. The embassy hopes to reopen on Wednesday for regular services.  

The incident happened a day after a diplomat at the embassy was attacked by the same group. A statement by the Ethiopian Embassy in London on Monday said “a group of angry and violent protesters committed an unprovoked physical assault on one of our staff members and prevented customers from obtaining the embassy’s services,” without calling mentioning the political allegiance of the group.

The staff member is said to be in stable condition after medical treatment, according to the embassy. About 12 perpetrators of the attack are said to be in police custody and the embassy intends to challenge them legally.

For about six days the group was camping in the parking lot of the embassy hassling embassy staff and disrupting service delivery.

On Tuesday, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Redwan Hussien had a meeting with Mr. Alex Cameroon, Charge d’Affairs at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian Embassy in London disclosed that Mr. Redwan filed a complaint and expressed the “disappointment of the government of Ethiopia over the recent developments surrounding the safety and security of the Ethiopian Embassy in London.”

The British Embassy in Addis Ababa reportedly apologized, via Mr. Alex Cameroon, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia is assured that the British government would observe the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and ensure the safety and security of Ethiopian Embassy staff in London.

Oromo Protest: The Cause?

The radical ethnic nationalist movement raging under the guise of “Oromo protest” — with extensive and coordinated Public relations and media work — is not precise when it comes to its demands.

What is clear is that the immediate cause for the renewed Oromo protest is related to the arrest of Jawar Mohammed (owner of Oromia Media Network), and other radical Oromo politicians and activists in connection with the assassination of Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa which the government-linked to OLF.

Over 240 civilians were massacred in the Oromo region of Ethiopia under the guise of “protest against the killing of Hachalu Hundessa.” Thousands of residential homes and businesses were burned. Properties worth billions of birr were destroyed in several cities in the region.

Archived text and video messages indicate that radical Oromo politicians and activists based in the Diaspora were involved in the massacre of non-Oromos and Orthodox Christians in the region.

Not much is known about what exactly the basic cause of the radical Oromo nationalist group at this time is. It is targeting even ethnic Oromos who are not radical. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and key members of his cabinet and top officials within the Ethiopian Defense Force and security apparatus are ethnic Oromo. Yet, the radical group disowned them as Oromo.

For some observers, what is wrapped with the Oromo protest is an ethno-religious movement with a motive to establish an Islamic state in the region. But such a view is not openly discussed.

Others see the movement as anti-neftegna, which is now a code word for Amhara. Those who disown Prime Minister Abiy, who is an ethnic Oromo on both sides of his parents, see him as a champion of neftegna case.

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