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Ethiopians in Switzerland abort a pro-gov’t meeting

ESAT News June 4, 2013

Ethiopians living in Switzerland have aborted a pro government meeting organized under the pretext of collecting money and sale of bond for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

According to one of the organizers of the protest, Petros Ashenafi, although the ruling EPRDF organized the meeting in a place that is very far from Genève city, over 200 Ethiopians that came from different parts of Switzerland, have managed to arrive early and abort the meeting.

The protesters chanted the following and many other s slogans “Dam racism before Abay Dam”, “Free all arrested journalists, Muslim Arbitration Committee members and political prisoners”. Due to the intensity of the protest, the meeting did not start on time and the Ethiopian Ambassador in Switzerland and other officials of EPRDF, who were supposed to lead the program, have also failed to come to the meeting.

ESAT’s reporter said although the meeting organizers called more police force and heavy rain was lashing, the protesters continued their protest with determination.

The protesters also changed the current FDRE flag that was hanging in the hall with another flag that they said “is representative of Ethiopia”. The protesters also posted the photographs of arrested journalists, politicians and the Muslim Arbitration Committee leaders.

Members of both factions of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) attended the protest in Unison with other protesters that hailed from the Ethiopian’s Association in Switzerland, Ginbot 7 Movement, Bilal Ethio-Switz Association, Democratic and Human Rights Organizers’ Youth Task Force and Dimtsachen Yisema Committee in Switzerland.

The protest organizer further stated that he was pleased with the building of the Dam on Abay River however opposed the arrest and killing of people and the politicization of development. Petros said “We need justice, freedom and democracy first. Then, we can build the Dam together”.