Addis Ababa Police says the content of Balderas Demonstration could trigger violence between people
January 29, 2021
The Addis Ababa Police Commission announced on Friday that Balderas demonstration planned for this Sunday is not permitted.
The decision has raised questions among the public. Police have published a brief explanation as to why it is not allowing it to happen.
It was said that the demonstration will disseminate hearsay between ‘nations and nationalities’ that could lead to what it called “race-based hatred.” It also said that the demonstration has content that could trigger violence between people and demands the release of Balderas leaders without any precondition.
Police claimed that the demand for the release of leaders will put pressure on the government and the legal system as their (the leader’s) case is being seen in the court.
Two days ago, Balderas party announced a plan to stage a demonstration in the capital Addis Ababa with stated goals to achieve from it. The police did not explain as to which part of the stated goals will trigger “race-based hate and violence between people.”
As for Balderas Party For Genuine Democracy, demanding the release of party its leadership including Eskinder Nega who were arrested since July 2020, ethnic-based attacks in different parts of Ethiopia, Oromia region’s land grabbing scheme in Addis Ababa, and opposing the Sudanese invasion of Ethiopian territories were agenda items for which the demonstration was needed.
Balderas party leaders played a key role in exposing what seemed to be a politically motivated massive corruption scandal in the city administration involving the demolition of residents houses and transfer of condo units though an illegal means, among other things. Addis Ababa City administration admitted this week that over 21,000 condo units in the capital were illegally transferred to those who were not in the waiting list.
Balderas leaders were arrested in connection with alleged role in the violence following the assassination Hachalu Hundessa.
Addis Ababa Police also listed other excuses to justify prohibiting Balderas demonstration.”Given the existing situation of the country, government is working on bringing those suspects before the law since the completion of the law enforcement operation [in Tigray region of Ethiopia], working to reverse foreign invasion and preparing to host African Union leaders’ submit, the focus of the security forces is on those issue, and that the demonstration, if conducted, will have a negative impact,” said Addis Ababa Police. Balderas is yet to disclose its reaction to the prohibition.
The Ethiopian constitution enshrines the right to assembly and freedom of expression. Entities organizing such demonstrations do have a legal requirement to make it peaceful and disclose to the law enforcement bodies.
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