Federal Police Suppress Peaceful Demonstration

(Mulu G.)

The Ethiopian Federal Police, in collaboration with security forces, suppressed a peaceful demonstration held by recently displaced local residents in front of the Sheraton Hotel Sunday morning.

More than 5000 peaceful residents of Woreda 8, Arada Sub-City, who are being displaced from their homes to allow for the expansion of the Sheraton Hotel, gathered in front of the hotel to request legal compensation based on current market prices as promised by government officials and hotel owner Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi. However, before they were able to receive a reply from Al Amoudi, police and security forces quelled the demonstration.

According to an Addis Neger Online source in Addis Ababa, the demonstration was attended by thousands of displaced residents of the Sheraton area, including children and elderly people. Despite the fact that some of them carried photographs of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and signs stating that they were peaceful demonstrators begging justice from the government, the police seized the placards, and dispersed the group.

Demonstrators, disappointed by the police reaction, immediately attempted to regroup in the same location.  The police then arrested and detained eleven men and two women accused of initiating the demonstration. From our latest reports, the people are still in jail.

According to one of the residents’ representatives, the first households displaced from the area in order to build the hotel ten years ago were appropriately compensated.

“Those who had been living in their own houses got much better ones than their old ones, while those who used to live in the kebele’ s houses were moved to new ones with relatively low rents. But we are displaced without appropriate compensation,” the representative added.  Thousands of households continue to hopelessly await their fate.

According to demonstrators, the kebele administrators gave the displaced homeowners and kebele renters approximately 18 thousand Birr and houses, respectively, as compensation. But the homeowners argued that with such a small amount of money, they could not even purchase a single bedroom condo, let alone build a new house elsewhere in the city. The kebele’ s substitute rental houses are also reportedly in poor condition.

“However, when we asked them to reconsider the compensation, they (the officials) labeled us as ‘anti-development’ and they threatened us, saying, ‘there is some force behind our demonstrations,’ “ said the representative. The representative further commented, “They are explaining that we are happy about this injustice making their cadres to appear in the state television.”

Although the residents did not request permission for yesterday’s demonstration, they explained that they had sought permission from the city administration at different times in the past and were repeatedly denied.  “This is not a demonstration but it is rather an appeal for justice,” said the residents.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

15 Responses to “Federal Police Suppress Peaceful Demonstration”

  1. The displacement of people in major cities in the name of development is a systematic cleansing to relegate non-EPRDF supporting part of the community to the peripheries. In view of the high living costs and the limited transport and other services in the new areas, it is clear to see how displaced people will succumb and perish with poverty. It is sad that the majority of the Ethiopian people is so weakened and helpless, and being tormented on a daily basis with few bigot minorities.

  2. ተነስ፣ታጠቅ፣ዝመት!

  3. ere men yeshalal gobez?

  4. Yes the Arabe &Meles ,his cadres,fighters, deserve all of it for them selves by them selves
    no one desrve desent life but them [TPLF}
    disgusting creatures, fight them back as you did burn the property he built never neel down for traitors we shall win!!! {YEMISALEW GOBEZ WEYANEN MEWOGAT}EPRDF ATBEL TPLF new EPRDF YEMATELAYA SIMU NEW TELATHIN EWEKE}LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA,

  5. Yonas,
    If they listen to you, please tell them to respect their own constitution. Tell them Article 30 of the Constitution grants everyone the right to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peaceably. Yemishalew yihe new!!

  6. I know this case very well, the head of the sub-cities and workers do some sabotage on this poor people. Such as, creating false kebele house number to get land in the name of poor people. Of course, there is no word to express how this people are suffering. In 2005, when many of residents whose house was demolished, they have got a promise from the city administration, but till present, many of them couldn’t get any. their living condition is worse, congested in a small corrugated iron house with as much as 10 families, with out toilet, etc. No justice, … waiting for what they believes rain on them.

  7. It is certainly known that the reconstruction of a city like Addis will inevitably entails displacement of its people. Up until very recently, the availability of space and the philosophy of urbanization made possible to expand the city in the south, east and some how the west direction. The 1950s, 1980s and late 1990s can be taken as decades of unprecedented expansion. Such expansion however caused no displacement of residents inside the city at all. Nevertheless the mode of Addis Ababa’s expansion has several demerits. For instance the unreasonable expansion results acute pressure on services. Therefore, supplying transport, electricity and water to these newly expanded areas naturally became challenging. The expansion of the city into different direction also affects the settlers in the periphery of the city. In fact these people settled in scattered manners and hence the sizes of the victims are few in many ways. Yet although with lame argument a historian like Benti Getahun viewed this as a deliberate measure to alienate certain ethnic group from the city.

    Having seen this as a background, one can tell about the huge reconstruction undertaking in the city. Indeed for the last few years the massive construction process is also accompanied with massive dislocation of people from the city. But whenever discourses are kindled on the point two trends are dominating the EPRDFits side. This group wants so much to be said about the construction. I see no problem in this regard. What about the problems related to the construction? It does not want to listen any thin of this sort. Any one who criticizes the weakness of this construction process is labeled as enemy to the development scheme of the government. Why? It is difficult to imagine how this group perceives any sincere Ethiopian dislike development of his own country. One of the major perpetrators of this notion is the government owned media. To make matters even worse this media works day and night to propagate such erroneous believe to others. Couple of months ago for instance, Haile was misdirected with a leading question by ETV. As Haile admitted the situation later, the journalist asked him what he can say to those who oppose development. Haile simply answered to this question having in mind those who oppose development for its sake. Haile’s reply was surgened to fit the interpretation of ETV. It is a public knowledge that this has cost Haile a lot.

    Similarly it is understandable why the people, subject of today’s Addis Neger news, came to the street in crowd hanging slogans to declare that they are not anti development. It has become common in the country, to label any one who criticize the government or demand the respect of their right as terrorist and anti development. Given a healthy relation between the public and the government categorizing critics to such labeling suggests sheer irresponsibility on the part of the government. It is not a matter of choice for the government to listen to those people, crying out for compensation. Whatever construction if it is affecting the citizen’s human right, it is unconstitutional. The responsible body must come to terms with the victims. Negotiation should always be in consideration if the people have to take themselves as citizens. This is the only way to palatable solutions for both parties. Doing so is like the Amharic saying “temakiro Yefesut Fes Ayishetim”. No body dislike if Addis Ababa became better off. It is also simple to guess the people knew the simple fact that government comes and goes. Whatever has been built in the end benefits the people. In the mean time however, grievance of the people must get fair attention. If what has been said is true, what are these people going to do with 18,000 birr. Build house? Fun!!!
    The displacement of the people as calculated cleansing of the non EPRDF supporter might appear farfethced. So I advise my brother Abebe against holding this view unless you are able to bring forward a verifiable evidence.

    Yet I advise be it Alamudin, the Hotel Owner, or the government to ask themselves what do they think about themselves vis-à-vis the people

  8. Berhanu,

    Let’s speak plain and straight. We know who the ‘developers, and who the commoners are these days. A distinct economic class of people (that also overlaps with ethnicity, ‘ideology’) is apparent in Ethiopia today. I am not a political scientist, thus do not have the write terminologies). There are losers and winners of such schemes that is clear for everyone to see and known to the government from the outset. Such inefficient policies to transfer resource from the population to the ruling groups is the very characterstics of autocratic systems. We know how many businesses were made to go bankrupt by deliberately procrastinated construction works. This thesis seems to be very outlandish to accept, but that is precisely what makes it a good weapon for dictators. I have read an article on the divide-and-rule tactic of kleptocratic governments and it very well describes the nature of the regime in Addis.(I suggest you read the introduction part of this article http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~jrobins/researchpapers/publishedpapers/jr_dividerule.pdf ) I found it very interesting and enlightning.

  9. If the residents got displaced, they should be compensated either by government or the developer. This is plain and simple. It is a simple common sense. But the government mess arround to robe these poor victims and to supress their human right. If there were a justice in Ethiopia,they would be compensated well. But we are unluck, we are ruled by criminals who have no sense of justice and symphathy.

  10. where are they these arm chair and vocal oppositions ? is it not the right time to organize the people out crying for justice and deliver leadership .Is it not the right time to voice for the down and out and viceless citizens who are suffering under the iron hand of woyane criminals? where are they the Medrks and AEUP ? are you drafting a condemnation literature when 5000 poor Addis citizens being beaten and tortured by woyane runing dogs and jestapos in your very face.Please ignite the struggle .This high time for you to challenge woyane who is in its last gap to die.Let you owe half gut from the demonstrators who boldely confronted woyane by dogging the rule that muffle their rights to demonstration and of free speech.

  11. Dear Abebe,
    I read the article at a glance. It provides a very interesting background to asses our case. I thank you for your sincere position. I can understand why you made the bold assertion I advised against. I too also feel the same way as you do. The problem however is not about feeling this or that way. It is about uncovering concrete evidence. What we call masirejia(evidence)and merejiya are two different things. The issue you raised is very serious thing. Any one with the opportunity to come up with factual data of this kind must be welcomed. But it must be analyzed with precaution. To fight discrimination one must not be discriminatory himself. Incorrect doing can not be corrected by another incorrect act. To be saved from repeating the same mistake they have done reliable and scientific study must be conducted. I do not know how this can be done but which building is whose? How much tracts of land for whom? How much birr loaned for whom and how? kind of inventory or study can be made. Otherwise mine or yours allegation will remain just allegation that those at whom we point our hands can easily refute. Any how thank you for the reading.

  12. Dear Abebe and Berhanu,

    Thank you for both of you showing us how civilized discussion is. I also read the article which abebe suggests, and it sounds very interesting. Any how, i expect from this website, many such kind of well developed discussion in the future.

  13. Tariku ke 4killo 30 October 2010 at 1:28 am

    ከዛሬ 10 እና 15 ዓመት በፍት የገበሬው መሬት ያላአግባቢ በ ሶስት ብር ስወሰድ ይህን ሞኝ እና ፈሪ የኦሮሞ ገበሬ እያላችሁ ትስቁ ነበር:: ወይ ጉድ እናንተ ብልጥ እና ጀግና ኢትዮጵያዊያንን ያለ ቤት ኣስቀሩዋችሁ? እስቲ ምን ታደርጉ ይሆን?

  14. Tariku ke 4killo 30 October 2010 at 1:32 am

    ከዛሬ 10 እና 15 ዓመት በፍት የገበሬው መሬት ያላአግባብ በ ሶስት ብር ስወሰድ ይህን ሞኝ እና ፈሪ የኦሮሞ ገበሬ እያላችሁ ትስቁ ነበር:: ወይ ጉድ እናንተ ብልጥ እና ጀግና ኢትዮጵያዊያንን ያለ ቤት ኣስቀሩዋችሁ? እስቲ ምን ታደርጉ ይሆን?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.