Ethiopian Orthodox Church followers who were heading to church on Sunday in some parts Addis Ababa and Oromia region reportedly barred from entering church
A day after the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Holy Synod announced that the Ethiopian government has accepted to respect the rights of the church and its followers by not interfering in the affairs of the church, new reports are emerging on social media that the government made new arrests in the capital Addis Ababa targeting Ethiopian Orthodox followers.
There are reported cases of Churchgoers heading to their respective church being barred from entering the premises of the churches.
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Media has confirmed that it has received reports of crackdown in Addis Ababa and Oromia region targeting Choirs, preachers, and members of religious associations.
The Holy Synod on Saturday announced that it has postponed the demonstration that was planned for Sunday after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government agreed to release all those arrested and stop harassing members of the church including interrupting the services of the church.
The number of Orthodox Christians arrested in the new crackdown is unknown at this point.
After the Holy Synod announced the postponement of the planned peaceful demonstration, the government Security and Intelligence Task Force said it has introduced road closures in the capital Addis Ababa. At least 21 major roads heading to the center are closed between 5 a.m. and 4pm.
Earlier in the week, the government reportedly shut down some social media platforms in the country.
The government is making claims that “internal and external enemies of Ethiopia,” are attempting to exploit the situation in connection with the Ethiopian Church’s development despite the Holy Synod and the government reaching an agreement in canceling the planned peaceful administration across Ethiopia.
However, the government is not specific about the identities of the internal and external forces whom it accused of planning to usurp power.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is yet to release a statement about the developments (including arrest and disrupting service in Addis Ababa and Oromia region) after the agreement with the Ethiopian government on Friday.
Many regional states in Ethiopia have expressed solidarity with the Ethiopian Church and pledged to enforce laws in an exercise to discharge the responsibility to maintain law and order.
The three Bishops that have formed a new patriarchate ( which is said to have overt and covert government support from the Oromia regional state and radical ethnic nationalist elements within the ranks of Abiy Ahmed administration) under the name “Oromia and nations and nationalities synod” is not accepted anywhere in the country except in Oromia region.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed denied any link to the group and has expressed that his government’s interest is in the “united Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.”
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