Weeks after massive crackdown on potential peaceful protest participants in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, reports are emerging that the government is cracking down in central Ethiopia.
DW Amharic on Friday reported that teachers in the Hadya zone of Central Ethiopia region are being arrested. The arrest came a day after students in the city took to the street demanding that their teachers get their salaries on time. Teachers in the region have not been paid their salaries since August this year which coincides with the Federal government declaration of state of emergency in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. They have been undertaking a strike to resist the situation. The Ethiopian government has not explained why it is not paying their salaries.
Security authorities in the region allege that the teachers are arrested because they “incited children to take to the street for unauthorized peaceful demonstration,” as reported by DW Amharic.
Badwacho is one of the districts in the Hadya zone where there has been a massive arrest of teachers. Their relatives have confirmed that they have been arrested in Shone town.
The source said eyewitnesses from the town confirmed that hundreds of teachers have been arrested. They also confirmed that it happened after students in the town took to the street to protest the circumstances teachers are facing in connection with salaries.
The teachers were arrested in a police station and were not transferred to prison facilities. As of now, arrested teachers did not appear in court.
Schools are not open in the district this year since teachers have been striking. Health professionals in the district are said to be in the same situation.
Police say the peaceful protests, which is a constitutional right in Ethiopia the only requirement for it being notifying security apparatus 48 hours before the event, were not permitted and that teachers were behind the demonstration. Tarekegn Sorato, Head of the Police in the town, accused participants of what he called “illegal demonstration” of “throwing rocks at cars and development infrastructures.” DW Amharic also reported that the police head declined from disclosing the number of teachers arrested.
The Teacher’s Association in Shone town rejected the police accusation. Kebede Kaba, chairperson of the association, says “the youth demonstration has nothing to do with the teachers.”
He added “as far as we are concerned, we are having conversation with the security body to know the exact reason why the teachers were arrested. Otherwise, the accusation that teachers have led the demonstration is baseless,” as quoted in the DW Amharic report.
Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Prime Minister’s administration has recently been banning anti-war peaceful demonstrations in the capital Addis Ababa where he arrested hundreds of youths in the city and four of the peaceful demonstration organizers. He linked anti-war peaceful demonstrations to “terrorist activity.” Last week, his administration also arrested the State Minister for Peace a day after he terminated him from his position. After the minister was arrested, the Joint Security and Intelligence Task force disclosed that the Minister was arrested in connection with having links to terrorist groups.
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