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HomeEthiopian NewsEthiopia : Barefoot Club member Journalists Held Captive in Adwa Celebration Crackdown

Ethiopia : Barefoot Club member Journalists Held Captive in Adwa Celebration Crackdown

Barefoot Club _ Ethiopian News _ Adwa
Ethiopian government restricted the celebration near Adwa Museum only to invited persons. Adwa Barefoot Project member journalists were detailed for more than 12 hours.

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Journalists who are said to be members of “Adwa barefoot” project – a group that has been walking barefoot during Adwa Victory Day for the past three years – have reportedly been detained all day long in the capital Addis Ababa.  Members of the group walked barefoot from Arat Kilo to Pizza where Emperor Menelik II statue stands and where Adwa Victory used to be celebrated until this year. The purpose is to commemorate Ethiopians who marched to Adwa bare foot to fight against the Italian colonial army. 

Among those were journalists who work for government media outlets – including Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation and Fano Broadcasting Corporate (FBC). 

According to a VOA Amharic report, members of “Adwa bare foot club” were gathering in Sidist kilo since early morning – this time to march to Menelik II square from Sidist Kilo. 

A member of the club who spoke to VOA Amharic anonymously said twenty-five members of the club who arrived early morning in Siddist killo- where their march was starting this year – were detailed all day long and released in the evening. They were reportedly arrested in a police station in Gulele – the north west end of the city – and police interrogated them.  They were released on bail terms. 

VOA Amharic report has confirmed that among those arrested were EBC, FBC and other journalists. Bisrat Mengistu – Fana Broadcasting Corporate journalist and who is also one of the founders of the “Barefoot Project” was among those detained – anonymous informant told VOA Amharic. 

There has been controversy over where the Adwa Victory should be celebrated. Until this year, it was celebrated near Emperor Menelik II’s Statue near St. George Church in the heart of the city. This year, the government introduced restrictions banning residents of the city not to celebrate it where it used to be celebrated. 

The government designated the Museum as a place for celebration and the Defense Force organized this year’s event. However, not all residents were allowed to attend the event near Adwa museum either – based on the VOA Amharic report. Only those who were issued with entrance passes were allowed to attend.

Last year, government security forces killed one civilian during the Adwa victory celebration after they threw tear gas in the premises of St. George church. 

The exclusion of residents of Addis Ababa from the event has raised questions. What appears to be clear from the actions of Abiy Ahmed’s administrations in the past few years is that radical ethnic Oromo nationalists from within the government structure are doing away Adwa Victory as a truly Ethiopian achievement and employing it to the service of ethnic politics which is what the administration is all about. This year, Abiy Ahmed openly said “Ethiopian Nationalism” does not have a constituency. 

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