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Balderas prevented from holding its first general meeting

Amha Dagnew speaking to the press at Gamebela Hotel regarding systemic ban on party activities including holding party congress – something that is required by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia

By Staff reporter

ADDIS ABABA – Balderas for Genuine Democracy was prevented from holding its general assembly, sources said. Ethiopian Insider reported yesterday that Balderas for Genuine Democracy was not allowed to exercise its democratic right of conducting its first general meeting at Gambella Hotel in Addis Ababa last Sunday, 12 March 2023.

The news source said that an employee of the Hotel told the coordinating members of the party that, “there is no any permitted meeting” at the hotel. Following this, deputy president of Balderas, Amaha Dagnew and other party representatives had a discussion with the Hotel administration for 20 minutes.

Amaha said that the party had the permit document issued by the Peace and Security Bureau of the Mayor’s Office. However, upon approaching the cashier for the necessary payments, a lady who identified herself as deputy manager of the Hotel said that she was “terrorized by people who said they were from Oromia Police not to allow any meeting” there.

Public Relation Head and member of party executive body, Bekalu Atnafu (Dr.) said that the deputy president was arrested last Saturday, 11 March 2023 and was made to move from one police station to another. “This was done to put pressure on the party. We know the current situation of the country. There is a high suppression in all corners. Therefore, our party has not been able to hold its general meeting and get certificates solely because of the high pressure enforced by Oromia Police including Justice and Security Forces,” Bekalu said.

Ethiopian Insider said it had observed near the gate of the Hotel police officers crammed in vehicles with logos of Federal and Addis Ababa Police. Some police officers were watching while the party senior leadership was briefing local journalists about the situation. After a while, the police vehicles left the area, according to the news source.

The deputy party president said while briefing journalists that representatives of the National Electoral Board had talked to hotel managers on the issue.

Members of the Party leadership said that they would conduct their meeting some other day. Bekalu Atnafu, Party Public Relation head said, “they prevented us from holding our meeting today. They won’t do it tomorrow”. He said his party would take time and hold the meeting next time.

The deputy President said on his part that after contacting the National Electoral Board, the Party would notify its members about the time and venue of the next general meeting.

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