Taxi strike in Ethiopia’s capital grips the city of 4 million

taxi strike

Commuters in Addis this morning (Photo: golgul)


ESAT News (February 29, 2016)

Amid a growing protest against the iron fist government in Ethiopia, daily commutes in the city of Addis Ababa came to a screeching halt on Monday, on the first day of a strike called by drivers and owners of taxis serving the city of 4 million and its environs.

A committee representing tens of thousands of taxis that serve the city called the strike in protest against a new punitive regulation that would suspend drivers for a long period of time for minor traffic offences; and against the skyrocketing gas prices in the country that do not reflect the falling prices in the world market.

The government announced that the new regulation has been suspended for three months but the drivers wouldn’t buy that. The statement by the drivers demand the government to scrap the regulation altogether and make adjustments on gas prices. The drivers say their strike would continue till their demands are met. They have also warned that they would block roads with their vehicles if the regime’s forces do not stop harassing drivers taking part in the strike.

The latest strikes by taxi drivers is one among a growing opposition by Ethiopians against an oppressive minority government that’s facing resistance from all corners of the country.

Regime’s forces on Monday reportedly detained several students who were showing their solidarity with the taxi drivers. The students were staging a protest in the sub divisions of the city called Ayer Tena and Awtobis Tera. Their whereabouts is not yet known.

The hashtag #AddisTaxiStrike was trending on Monday in the Ethiopian twitter world with some calling for a nationwide strike by teachers and government employees.

Taxi strike has historical significance in Ethiopia. A strike by taxi drivers in 1974 helped fuel the revolution that toppled the monarchy.